An update on the recent news about U.S. News and World Report rankings

Chancellor Carol Christ and Paul Alivisatos, executive vice chancellor and provost, issued the following message on Wednesday, August 7, 2019:

Dear Members of the Berkeley campus community,

As you are likely aware, U.S. News and World Report has decided to “unrank” the campus for its 2019 rankings report because of Berkeley’s inadvertent misreporting of data related to alumni giving. To summarize: Berkeley, on our own, uncovered an unfortunate oversight on our part after a change in the ranking methodology. We then, without delay, reported the oversight to the publication, provided the corrected alumni giving data, and accepted responsibility for the error, as well as the consequence.

What follows is our public statement on the matter:

UC Berkeley recently discovered an issue with the reporting of its alumni giving rate to U.S. News for the purposes of institutional ranking. As soon as we were aware of the matter, we reported it to U.S. News and provided corrected data. From our research it appears that beginning in 2014 U.S. News required universities to report only cash donations (rather than cash donations plus multi-year pledges) as submitted to the nationally-recognized Voluntary Support of Education (VSE) Survey. The then-new change in methodology was apparently overlooked, as we continued using the previously existing U.S. News reporting guidelines. We regret the oversight and look forward to working with U.S. News regarding any additional steps that need to be taken.

This issue should have no effect on the ranking of graduate programs.

U.S. News “unranked” Berkeley from the 2019 list. The 2020 rankings, however, will be published in September 2019. We have submitted corrected data and certified it to U.S. News as accurate, and therefore anticipate being back in the rankings in a couple of months.

Though part of the rankings methodology, the incorrectly reported alumni giving data is most certainly not a measure of the academic quality at UC Berkeley.

Carol Christ

Paul Alivisatos
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost