While Georgetown remains at the 21st spot on U.S. News & World Report’s National Universities Ranking list, the university dropped from first to 16th on the Best Colleges for Veterans list. The 2016 Best Colleges rankings were released Wednesday.
Richard Hare, a representative from U.S. News, attributed the dramatic shift in rankings for veterans to changes in the organization’s methodology.
Institutions qualified for the 2016 rankings if they are certified for both the G.I. Bill and a participant in the Yellow Ribbon Program, a post-9/11 bill that pays full tuition and fees for veterans at public schools and a considerable portion of tuition at private universities. From there, eligible schools were listed in order according to their placement on the overall National Universities Ranking list.
Missing from this year’s criteria to make the list was a third requirement that an institution must belong to the Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges Consortium, an organization formed in 1972 to further aid student veterans. As it disbanded this past year, this standard was removed from U.S. News’ methodology, resulting in a rise from 311 to 721 schools eligible for the list.
Although Georgetown fits the above criteria, the addition of several hundred schools to the list resulted in a ranking drop.
Georgetown’s Veterans Office Director LeNaya Hezel pointed to the changes in methodology and did not express any disappointment with the drop in ranking.
“We are honored to be recognized in the ‘Best Colleges for Veterans’ category and to provide opportunities
to military students to pursue higher education at any point in their career,” Hezel wrote in an email to The Hoya.
U.S. Army Captain Jim Perkins (GRD ’16), president of the Georgetown University Student Veterans Association, said the rankings are not an accurate reflection of an institution’s support for military members.
“There is no quantitative or qualitative measure of how much of a resource is being given to student veterans,” Perkins said.
He added that Georgetown’s efforts to provide additional aid for student veterans go far beyond the criteria outlined in U.S. News.
“From the perspective of the university, they’ve actually done a lot in terms of partnerships with outside organizations and fostering all of that stuff inside the university that is specifically targeted at helping student veterans,” Perkins said.
Perkins specifically referenced collaborations with organizations such as Service to School and Four Block, which offer services such as providing support for veterans in the admissions process, transition to civilian life, job search and various other challenges.
“These are all things that even under the previous ranking methodology, U.S. News & World Report would’ve never really even picked up on,” Perkins said.
One additional resource for student veterans at Georgetown is the first military prospective students day for MBA candidates at the McDonough School of Business Nov. 12. For student veteran applicants who choose to apply in the first round of admissions, the school sets up on-campus interviews for the following day, a convenient feature of the program Perkins said sets Georgetown apart from other institutions.
“This is something that comparably exceeds most other MBA programs,” Perkins said. “We’re really proud of making that choice.”
Other notable appearances throughout the 2016 lists included a ninth ranking for undergraduates studying international business and 14th and 15th rankings for graduate law and public policy programs, respectively. In both the overall university and veterans rankings, Georgetown is tied with Emory University.
Georgetown’s highest rating, however, came with the eighth spot on the list compiled from surveys of high school counselors. U.S. News collected, “high school counselor reputation scores,” using the average of surveys from 2013-2015 of counselors from public high schools. Counselors assigned schools ratings on a scale of one to five, based on their perceived quality of a given school’s undergraduate education.