Average and Year by Year U.S. News Rankings for 123 National Universities, 2017–2024. Big Changes!

This is our annual summary of US News rankings of national universities across the most recent eight-year period. We have other posts and pages on this site with US News statistics going back to 1983. In all the years we have surveyed the rankings, the 2024 has brought the most dramatic changes. The main reason is a much greater emphasis on metrics of social mobility and related outcomes versus traditional metrics of test scores, class sizes, and institutional wealth.

Some critics of the rankings, and they are legion, claim that US News changes its methodology so frequently that year to year comparisons are almost meaningless. And it is certainly striking that the flagship universities of Kentucky, Alabama, and Nebraska could have fallen 73, 63, and 48 places respectively between 2017 and 2024. Yet the new rankings are a boost to many public universities, whose rankings as a whole have risen an average of four places since 2021 and almost two places since 2017.

Indeed, when compared to rankings for 2017, eleven public universities have gained at least 20 places, led by UC Riverside with a gain of 42 places. Rutgers, NC State, Stony Brook, and Oregon all rose 30 or more places.

Most complaints have come from private universities–and with reason. The average 2024 rankings for the 62 private universities in our continuing survey declined by a whopping 14 points since 2017 and by 8 points since last year. Although the most dramatic declines have occurred for private universities ranked out of the top 50 in most years, even elite institutions such as Chicago, Dartmouth, and Columbia have dropped 9, 7, and 7 points respectively during that timeframe.

“With rankings, sometimes you’re the windshield and sometimes you’re the bug,” consultant Teresa Valerio Parrot pithily explained to the influential site Inside Higher Ed (IHE). “I feel like we got to see a number of institutions who in the past have either been silent or have praised where they are in the rankings, and with this year’s methodology change suddenly have objections and grievances … that’s not really a great look.”

In the same piece, Christopher Newfield, a higher education scholar and the research director of the Independent Social Research Foundation in London, said that now “the product that’s being sold is social mobility. That’s an improvement over status and prestige. But neither of those things are about the intellectual, nonpecuniary benefits of a college education.”

Nothing other than a dramatic shift in methodology can explain a one-year drop of 18 points for Wake Forest, 29 points for Tulane, 26 points for Brigham Young, and 33 points for American.

The view here is that the most successful universities overall are those who combine a commitment to social mobility and academic excellence with sufficient resources to achieve both goals. Many elite private universities fall into this category and will continue to receive high rankings. Some private universities that have done well in the past will have to adjust to the new metrics, a difficult task if the resources are lacking.

As for public universities, the UC system has for years operated according to these principles and still rises in the rankings. Florida and North Carolina are notable for providing excellent academics at low cost. UT Austin, UW Madison, UIUC, UW Seattle, Georgia, Maryland, and Ohio State have had some ups and downs in the rankings but now seem to be operating pursuant to goals that also align well with the new metrics. For years we have criticized US News for its over-emphasis on wealth metrics. Now we say congratulations for developing a methodology with much better balance.

Below is the table showing the ranking changes from 2017 to 2024. Universities are listed in order of their 2024 rank.

US News 2016--202320172018201920202021202220232024Avg RankDif 2017-2024
Johns Hopkins1011101099799.3751
UC Berkeley202122222221201520.3755
Notre Dame151818151919182017.75-5
North Carolina303030292828292228.258
Washington Univ191819191614152418-5
Carnegie Mellon242525252625222424.50
UC San Diego444241373534342836.87516
UC Davis444638393938382838.7516
UT Austin565649484238383244.87524
UC Irvine3942333635363433366
Georgia Tech343435293538443335.251
UC Santa Barbara373730343028323532.8752
UW Madison444649464242383542.759
Boston College313238373536363935.5-8
Washington 545659625859554055.37514
Boston Univ393742404242414340.75-4
Ohio St545456545349494351.511
Wake Forest272727272828294730-20
Georgia 565446504748494749.6259
Virginia Tech746976747475624768.87527
Texas A&M746966706668674765.87527
William & Mary323238403938415339.125-21
Case Western373742404242445342.125-16
Florida St928170575855555365.12539
Stony Brook96978091889377588538
NC State928180848079726078.532
Penn State505259576363776060.125-10
Michigan St82818584808377607922
U of Miami444653574955556753.25-23
George Washington565663706663626762.875-11
UMass Amherst747570646668676768.8757
Stevens Inst Tech716970748083837675.75-5
UC Riverside11812485918883897694.2542
Col School of Mines827580848883897682.1256
Univ at Buffalo999789798893897688.7523
UC Santa Cruz7981708497103838284.875-3
San Diego869085918893979891-12
Illinois Tech11112012913912412212798121.2513
Colorado 96941069710310397105100.125-9
Saint Louis10310310210410399105105103-2
Arizona St9910389104112103121105104.5-6
Brigham Young6861637780798911579-47
Iowa St10310396117124122127115113.375-12
New Hampshire124120129139143127137115129.259
South Carolina111115119121118122115124118.125-13
Miami Oh7978899110310310513397.625-54
Loyola Chicago103103115104112103115142112.125-39
Michigan Tech129124140166153148151151145.25-22
Colorado St135133147153160148151151147.25-16
TOTAL AVG62.568.765.06-6.22




US News Academic Reputation Score Changes, 2015 vs 2023, vs National Rankings

One of the most controversial aspects of the U.S. News national university rankings is the use of “undergraduate academic reputation” scores based on the “expert opinion” of the 43.6 percent of college presidents, deans, and provosts who actually return the peer assessment documents to U.S. News. Each response rates a university’s academic reputation on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest score.

The academic reputation category itself counts for 20 percent of the total ranking, a hefty impact indeed. Since 2015, the mean scores for 99 national universities have risen by .14, from 3.67 to 3.81, or almost 4 percent. A rise or fall of .1 or .2 seems to have minimal positive impact on a university’s ranking, while a rise or fall of .3 more likely indicates a real shift in perception and ranking..

The most likely explanation for the minimal impact, in general, of reputation score increases of less than .3 is that changes in the U.S. News rankings methodology that includes measures for “social mobility” and “graduate indebtedness” have, in many cases, overridden or undermined the impact of marginally higher scores for academic reputation.

Only one university, Northeastern, rose by .4–yet the overall ranking for Northeastern fell from 42 to 44 between 2015 and 2023. The reputation score of 11 universities rose by .3: Notre Dame, NYU, Purdue, Boston University, Virginia Tech, Georgia, UMass Amherst, UConn, Utah, UC Santa Cruz, and Florida State. For this group, the ranking for 9 or the 11 universities rose, while the other 2 fell. Only Notre Dame and UConn dropped in the rankings as their reputation scores rose.

Below is a table showing the changes in academic reputation scores and overall rankings for 99 national universities, 2015-2023, sorted by academic reputation ranking in 2023.

Copy of Rsp vs rank 2023.xlsx

UniversityRep 2015Rep 2023changeRank 2015Rank 2023change
UC Berkeley4.74.7020200
Johns Hopkins4.54.70.21275
Carnegie Mellon4.24.30.125223
Georgia Tech4.24.30.13644-8
North Carolina4.14.20.130291
Notre Dame3.94.20.31418-4
UW Madison4.14.1047389
UT Austin44.10.1533815
Washington 4404855-7
UC San Diego3.83.90.137343
Ohio St3.73.90.254495
UC Davis3.83.90.138380
William & Mary3.73.90.23341-8
UC Irvine3.63.80.242348
Boston Univ3.53.80.342411
Boston College3.63.80.23136-5
Penn State3.63.70.14877-29
Texas A&M3.63.70.168671
Virginia Tech3.43.70.371629
Case Western3.53.70.23844-6
Wake Forest3.53.70.22729-2
UC Santa Barbara3.53.60.140328
Michigan St3.53.60.185778
George Washington3.53.60.15162-11
UMass Amherst3.23.50.376679
Stony Brook3.23.40.2887711
Col School of Mines3.33.40.18889-1
U of Miami3.23.40.24855-7
Arizona St3.23.30.11291218
UC Santa Cruz33.30.385832
NC State3.13.30.2957223
Florida St33.30.3955639
Iowa St3.23.20106127-21
Brigham Young33.20.26289-27
Miami Oh3.13.20.176105-29
UC Riverside3.13.101138924
Washington St33.1138212-74
George Mason33.10.1128137-9







Average US News Rankings for 125 Universities, 2016–2023

NOTE: This post will be updated within a few days to include the 8-year period 2017-2024, thus including the US News rankings released in September 2024.

Below is our annual update of US News average rankings across the most recent eight-year period. Our first effort, covering the years 2014-2021, showed that public university rankings as a whole declined by 4.4 percent during that timeframe, while the decline for private universities was slightly less at 4.3 percent.

This time around, public universities have made significant gains overall, reflecting in part the changes in US News methodology. The overall rankings for publics did decline, but only by 3.0 percent. Meanwhile, the overall rankings for private universities declined by 5.4 percent.

The table below does not include universities that moved into the national university category since 2014 or that were not rated among the top 125 in that category in 2014. But here is a list of those and their 2023 ranking.

Villanova, 51; Santa Clara, 55; Loyola Marymount, 77; Gonzaga, 83; Elon, 89; Illinois-Chicago, 97; NJIT, 97; South Florida UCF, 97; UC Merced, 97; RIT, 105; Utah, 105; Creighton, 115; Rutgers Newark, 115; and Temple, 121.

The new list has several dramatic changes, some of them making sense only if there were major adjustments or corrections to the data reported from the universities. For example, the ranking of Penn State was 47 in 2016 but 77 in 2023. The most dramatic improvement among publics was Florida State, which moved from 96 to 55 during the eight years. Undoubtedly, the biggest change among elite private institutions was the drop of Columbia from 4 to 18 across the same span of years. The decline came after accusations by a math professor that Columbia “fudged” numbers in previous years.

In the coming weeks we will also post our annual comparison of US News Rankings, academic reputation rankings, and departmental rankings.

US News 2016--202320162017201820192020202120222023Avg RankChg 2016
to 2023
Johns Hopkins10101110109979.53
Washington Univ151918191916141516.8750
Notre Dame181518181519191817.50
UC Berkeley2020212222222120210
Carnegie Mellon232425252526252224.3751
Wake Forest272727272728282927.5-2
North Carolina303030302928282929.251
UC Santa Barbara373737303430283233.1255
UC San Diego394442413735343438.255
UC Irvine393942333635363436.755
Boston College303132383735363634.375-6
UC Davis414446383939383840.3753
UT Austin525656494842383847.37514
UW Madison414446494642423843.53
William & Mary343232384039384136.75-7
Boston Univ413937424042424140.50
Georgia Tech363434352935384435.625-8
Case Western373737424042424440.125-7
Georgia 615654465047484951.37512
Ohio St525454565453494952.6253
U of Miami514446535749555551.25-4
Florida St969281705758555570.541
Washington 525456596258595556.875-3
George Washington575656637066636261.625-5
Virginia Tech707469767474756271.758
Texas A&M707469667066686768.753
UMass Amherst757475706466686769.8758
NC State899281808480797282.12517
Penn State475052595763637758.5-30
Michigan St758281858480837780.875-2
Stony Brook899697809188937788.87512
Stevens Inst Tech757169707480838375.625-8
UC Santa Cruz8279817084971038384.875-1
Brigham Young666861637780798972.875-23
UC Riverside121118124859188838999.87532
Col School of Mines758275808488838982-14
Univ at Buffalo999997897988938991.62510
San Diego898690859188939789.875-8
Colorado 969694106971031039799-1
Saint Louis10310310310210410399105102.75-2
Miami Oh827978899110310310591.25-23
Loyola Chicago103103103115104112103115107.25-12
South Carolina108111115119121118122115116.125-7
Arizona St999910389104112103121103.75-22
Iowa St10810310396117124122127112.5-19
Illinois Tech103111120129139124122127121.875-24
New Hampshire123124120129139143127137130.25-14
Michigan Tech127129124140166153148151142.25-24
Colorado St129135133147153160148151144.5-22

UGA Honors Program to Become Morehead Honors College with Large Endowment

Editor’s note: Our thanks to the University of Georgia for much of this information.

One of the best and oldest public university honors programs in the nation is at the University of Georgia–and now it is set to become the Morehead Honors College at UGA, funded in part by an honors endowment approaching $10 million.

The new honors college will be named after President Jere Morehead, an altogether fitting move based in part on his former leadership of the honors program from 1999 to 2004. The program began in 1960, placing it among the five or six most longstanding programs in the nation. Since 2012, we have rated the program as among the very best, giving special nods to its undergraduate research emphasis and to its outstanding record of mentoring students who have won Rhodes, Marshall, Truman, and Goldwater Scholarships.

UGA President Jere Morehead and students

“Over the last quarter century, UGA became a recognized leader with regard to nationally and internationally competitive major scholarships. Consider that while UGA had only two recipients of the Rhodes Scholarship between World War II and 1995 (in 1960 and 1973), during the past 25 years UGA has produced nine Rhodes Scholars and, as a result, UGA now trails only UVA and UNC in the number of Rhodes Scholars produced by a public institution during this time period,” according to Dr. David S. Williams, who succeeded Dr. Morehead as director in 2004.

UGA Honors Director David S. Williams

“This record of success with regard to external scholarships has continued since 2014, including the following significant achievements: (1) five Schwarzman Scholars since the introduction of this prestigious new award in 2016; (2) at least one national Rhodes finalist each year, with a Rhodes Scholarship recipient in 2017; (3) one Marshall Scholar in 2016; (4) UGA’s first two Beinecke Awardees in 2017 and 2019; (5) UGA’s first Knight-Hennessy Scholar in 2019, and a second one in 2020; (6) UGA’s first Churchill Scholar in 2019; (7) three Truman recipients; (8) seven Udall recipients; and (9) 17 Goldwater recipients, including the institutional maximum of four recipients in 2019.”

The fundraising campaign has raised more than $8 million of its $10 million goal, with plans to use an endowment to fund new, permanent and robust support for academic programming, undergraduate research, study abroad and internship opportunities for Honors students.

“Upon learning of this action, it is difficult for me to adequately express my appreciation to the UGA Foundation Trustees, other donors, the chancellor and the Board of Regents for making this incredible honor possible,” said Morehead. “Working with the Honors Program—as its director and continuing as provost and president—has been one of the most rewarding and meaningful experiences of my career. I am humbled and deeply grateful.”

As honors director, Morehead help to create the Washington Semester Program that has sent more than 2,000 students to work as interns in the nation’s capital. He also created the Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities (CURO), a model for undergraduate research programs in honors programs and universities.

“What President Morehead did in his time as Honors Program director established a great precedent for our faculty and administration, and it built a springboard for all the students who have entered our program since,” said Dr. Williams, the current director. “UGA Honors is today regarded as one of the finest public university honors programs in the country—due in no small part to the accomplishments of the president’s tenure—so it is exciting to imagine where we go from here.”

Deep Shah, a 2008 alumnus and now a physician in Atlanta, said that Morehead’s “commitment to elevating both the university and the Honors Program was evident to me then. As I have come to know him more as an alumnus, that commitment has become even more clear as have the results of his efforts. I can think of no one more deserving of this honor.” Dr. Shah was named a Rhodes Scholar in 2008.

Under Morehead’s long tenure as president, UGA’s four-year completion rate rise from 61% to 71% and its six-year completion rate climbed to 87%. UGA has been rated a top 20 public university by U.S. News & World Report for five consecutive years, most recently being ranked at No. 15.

Honors Merit Scholarships–A Quick Review

Alabama lots of test score/gpa $$; full ride nm finalist
Appalachian St 10 full rides Chancellors Scholarship
Arizona avg in state hon $11-13k; avg OOS, $25-30k; stackable
Arizona State at least full tuition for national scholars; most also
have additional awards; no cap for national scholars
Arkansas 10k a year to NM finalists
Auburn many awards based on test and gpa
up to $18k per year
Central Florida Benacquisto full ride NM finalists; enrolls many national scholars
Clemson 10 full rides through honors college, very competitive
OOS avg is $5k – $12k without national award
Col of Charleston ALL honors students receive some merit scholarship
Colorado Presidential scholarship 4 year value $55k
Colorado St Up to $4k year in state; up to $10k yr OOS
Connecticut several are limited to conn residents
Delaware Distinguished hon scholars range from tuition to full ride
Florida Benacquisto full ride NM Finalist
Florida Atlantic Benacquisto full ride NM Finalist
Florida International Benacquisto full ride NM Finalist
Florida St Benacquisto full ride NM Finalist
Georgia Foundation fellows about 20 close to full ride
very competitive
Houston full ride still possible
Illinois Provost full tuition; President’s $10k/yr; Stamps full ride
all above are in state
Indiana OOS $1k to $10k
Iowa 99% honors students get a merit award, many w Old Gold
Scholarship $8500 in state $10k OOS
JMU Dingledine Bluestone $12,230/yr; Madison $4k-$10k
Kansas $10k in state; in state tuition OOS; other misc awards
Kentucky Singletary and Patterson, full tuition + $10k housing
Patterson is for NM finalists
Maryland Banneker Key full ride
Massachusetts most honors students receive some modest merit $$
Michigan up to $20k/yr OOS. VERY competitive.
Michigan St honors college scholarship can be $13k/yr also
add ons for NM and other honors scholarships; also
$5k to $15k yearly acc to SAT and gpa OOS
Minnesota $10k yr NM finalists; maroon and gold $24k MN residents
Mississippi full ride NM finalist and almost s
Missouri Mizzou Scholars $10k in state only; Stamps full ride rare
Nebraska chancellors or regents full tuition NM or equiv stats
Nevada Reno NM finalist $16k not whether in state OOS or both
New College of Florida Benacquisto full ride NM finalists
NC Chapel Hill Morehead-Cain and Robertson premier awards. Full ride
equivalent for both. Extremely competitive.
NC State Park Scholars full ride but few and almost all in state or
Ohio U Cutler Scholarships in engineering, full cost; Cutler from colleges of
A&S, Business, Education, Fine Arts $23k per year
Ohio St Eminence Fellows 21 in most recent class full ride hon program
Oklahoma full ride now tied to very high test scores 1560ish
NM finalists $19k in state and $35k OOS
Oklahoma St full ride NM finalist; others acc to test and gpa
Oregon Stamps full ride equiv; presidential $9k per year
Penn St at least $5k for ALL Schreyer students, mostly in state
Pitt Chancellors scholarships (15) full ride equiv
Purdue Trustees scholarship $10k in state $16k OOS
Rutgers merit range $3500 to $26750
South Carolina full ride ~70 per year; McNair Scholars, also Horseshoe for honors
South Florida Benacquisto full ride NM Finalist
UT Chattanooga Brocks scholars all get $2k a year extra
Tennessee Several. In state $28-$48k; OOS $40k-$72k.
Volunteer scholarship; Hope scholarship.
Texas A&M NM finalists $7500 a year; Brown Foundation close
to full ride NM semifinalists in STEM; very competive
Texas Tech full ride nm finalists; other $$ based on scores gpa
UAB national scholars full tuition plus 1 yr housing+perks
8 semesters
Utah Presidential Scholarship in state and OOS tuition + housing award
UT Austin a few merit awards thru Plan II; some big UT awards include
Forty Acres Scholars full ride 15-20/yr. In state w family income of
$65k or less, free tuition in state; Terry Scholars ~$20k;
family income $125k or less and “need” also eligible
These are known as Texas Advance Scholarships
UT Dallas LOTS of merit scholarships and full rides possible NM finalists,
McDermott, Collegium Honors, Terry
Vermont several from $7k to $20k per year
VCU Presidential scholarship close to full ride
Virginia Tech Presidential for in state hon students with need;  85/yr
first gen, pell, family size and other fafsa factors involved
Washington honors tuition scholarship in state; also partial tuition
offset for OOS honors students; very competitive
Washington St NM finalists tuition scholarship plus $4k
Wisconsin most scholarships by college or department; also many
have need-based factors

Twelve New Mitchell Scholars to Study at Ireland’s Prestigious Universities

Editor’s Note: The following information is from the US-Ireland Alliance. We are pleased to see that the Mitchell Scholar Program continues to provide exciting opportunities for students to do graduate work at several of Ireland’s world-class universities.

November 21, 2020 – The US-Ireland Alliance announced the 12 members of the George J. Mitchell Scholar Class of 2022 following virtual interviews earlier today. One of the country’s most prestigious scholarship programs, it sends future American leaders to the island of Ireland for a year of graduate study.

Trinity College Dublin






A record number of 453 individuals applied this year – a 22% increase over the previous record set two years ago. Half of the semifinalists and half of the finalists were people of color, another record. Thirty percent of the finalists were from universities or colleges not previously represented and 70% of this year’s applicants were women.

The program was founded and is led, by Trina Vargo. It is unique among the nation’s most prestigious scholarships in being founded and led by a woman. Speaking of the new class, Vargo said, “Several applicants spoke specifically of their preference for studying in Ireland vs. England. They compared the history of disenfranchisement in the US to that of Ireland’s suppression under British colonialism. Many are also interested in places, like Northern Ireland, that have wrestled with their own conflicts. Recipient Kieran Hampton said: “I too have lived a life noiselessly charged with sectarian tension and the residue of violence. I am attracted to the island of Ireland and feel I have much in common with it.”

University College Dublin

Carolina Chavez, Director of the Mitchell Scholarship, spoke of the program’s requirements and process: “Our newly selected class will continue the Mitchell tradition of exploring new perspectives on contemporary issues, building skills, and relationships that will power the US-Ireland relationship in the years to come.”

Members of the selection committee included Monica Bell, a Mitchell Scholar alum and Associate Professor of Law and Associate Professor of Sociology at Yale; Justin McCarthy, Senior Vice President at the Patient & Health Impact group at Pfizer; Cóilín Parsons, Associate Professor of English, Georgetown University; and Ireland’s Deputy Ambassador to the United States, Emer Rocke.

Major supporters of the program include Ireland’s Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science; Morgan Stanley; Pfizer; and the Pritzker Foundation. The Scholars will begin their studies in Ireland in September 2021.

Queen’s University Befast

 George J. Mitchell Scholars, Class of 2022

 Jonathan Chew is a senior at Baylor University where he studies Mathematics and Russian as part of the Baylor Business Fellows program. As a dual citizen of the US and the UK, he follows Brexit closely. He’s been struck by how effectively the Leave campaign used data science to win an upset victory with a heavy investment in technology consulting and micro-targeted online messaging. The integral nature of data science in both the Brexit referendum and the 2016 US Presidential Election led Jonathan to choose a major that would allow him to explore the mathematical and data analytics side of modern politics. Given the controversy surrounding the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland in the aftermath of Brexit, Jonathan finds Ireland an interesting place to study how initiatives like the aforesaid referendum go from concept to reality and how data science can shape election outcomes. Jonathan will study Politics and Data Science at University College Dublin.

Meghan Davis is a senior and dual major in Biological Engineering and Urban Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. An interdisciplinary researcher, Meghan is committed to tackling health inequities faced by vulnerable and marginalized communities. Currently, she is pursuing a mixed-methods approach to understand the cardiovascular disease disparities in urban Black women and interventions that can be implemented to reduce these disparities. She is collaborating with a local Black women’s health organization to ensure the project is designed with the key stakeholders, Black women, at the reins. Meghan’s service was honored earlier this year with the Martin Luther King Jr. Service award for “service to the community.” She also received MIT’s Bridge Builder award for her “strong commitment to and passion for diversity education and cultural celebration.” Meghan’s goal is to become a physician-scientist and will study Global Health at Trinity College Dublin.

Marilu Duque is pursuing an MSc in Information at the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor. Her work is at the nexus of national security, cybersecurity, machine learning (ML), and research. As a first-generation American from Florida, she was raised with profound patriotism towards the community that welcomed her Cuban refugee father and her Dominican mother. She learned early that technology has not always served vulnerable communities well. As an undergraduate at New York University, where she obtained her Bachelor’s in Integrated Digital Media in 2019, Marilu was the NYC Regional Lead for the Hispanic Heritage Foundation’s Code as a Second Language program and taught 60 plus students in the Bronx. She is currently a Cyber Threat Intelligence intern at FireEye where she identifies actionable intelligence to inform customers of potential cyber threats to critical infrastructure. Marilu will study Applied Cyber Security at Technological University Dublin.

Genevieve Finn recently graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles, completing her English degree in 2.5 years while working part-time. She is currently a reporter at The Malibu Times, where she is working to create a Spanish-language insert in the paper’s print edition to serve Malibu’s Latinx day laborer commuter population. As a student journalist for the Daily Bruin’s magazine, she wrote about racism faced by students studying abroad and launched a soon-to-be-published, months-long investigation into the data collection policies of a for-profit plagiarism-checking company used by UCLA. She was awarded an Overseas Press Club Foundation fellowship for her writing about her voyage and will work at the Associated Press’ Mexico City Bureau when travel is safe. Noting that most international coverage of Ireland focuses on The Troubles and Brexit, she plans to seek what is beyond the major narratives. Genevieve plans a career in long-form journalism and will study Creative Writing at Trinity College Dublin.

Tawreak Gamble-Eddington is a senior studying Political Science and History at Union College in Schenectady, New York. He is President of the Black Student Union, former President of Union Pride, and part of the local chapter of My Brother’s Keeper (President Obama’s mentoring program), which built space at Union to work with disadvantaged students in Schenectady. As a Gilman Scholar, Ty traveled to Poland to study Holocaust history and Polish Jewry and volunteered with local Polish organizations and synagogues. Born to African American and Irish American parents, Ty hopes to continue researching his ancestry in Ireland. Though his great-grandmother grew up in an orphanage in the Boston-area, the family has traced her roots to Limerick. Planning for an eventual career at the intersections of law and minority advocacy, Ty will study Race, Ethnicity, Conflict at Trinity College Dublin.

Kiran Hampton recently graduated from Harvard University with High Honors in History and Literature. As the President of Harvard Radio Broadcasting, he ran the largest open organization on campus, setting and executing policy for a 24/7 commercial radio station with a large share of the Boston market. Kiran and his team grew WHRB administratively and financially while significantly increasing its membership and improving the quality of its broadcasting. Kiran is proficient in Arabic, was a Harvard Crimson Editorial Board Editor and tutored students for the citizenship exam. His academic interest is in administrative and economic institutions, “in particular, in the sliding schema of regulation, by which private organizations and the state enforce economic and social rules with maniacal harshness against the poor and flexible permissiveness against the powerful.” Kiran has been admitted to Harvard Law. He will study Economics at Queen’s University Belfast.

Abigail Hickman is a senior at Columbia University where she majors in Anthropology. A member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, she is interested in Indigenous Futurisms, a subfield of speculative fiction that focuses on what decolonization might look like. She serves on Columbia’s executive board of the Native American Council, where she spearheaded a successful petition for university recognition of Indigenous Peoples’ Day.  Abigail notes that this relationship revealed its unyielding strength as recently as this year when Irish citizens fundraised thousands of dollars in COVID-19 relief aid for the Navajo and Hopi Nations, and when Ireland’s lacrosse team bowed out of the sport’s top international tournament to support the inclusion of the Iroquois Nationals. Today, Indigenous people still confront eliminatory systems of power and Abigail wants to imagine what might come next. She hopes to work as a professor at a university with a large Indigenous student population. She will study English at the University of Limerick.

Joy Nesbitt is a senior at Harvard University studying Social Anthropology and Music. A director, actress, and musician, she uses the arts to bring attention to social justice issues. She currently serves as Co-President of BlackCAST, where she organizes the annual Black Playwright’s Festival and develops art that foregrounds Black dramatists and theater-makers. Joy revamped KeyChange, the acapella group focused on performing music from the African Diaspora, serving as President in the group’s first returning year. This summer, she directed several plays on Zoom, including a successful production of God of Carnage and Romeo & Juliet. Joy finds that her experience as a Black woman from the South is regularly affected and dependent upon a global history of colonialism, slavery, and systematic disenfranchisement. She sees a similarity with British colonialism’s impact on Ireland. Joy will study Theatre Directing at The Lir Academy, Trinity College Dublin.

Maysa Sitar is a senior at Michigan State University where she studies Political Science. She became interested in voting at an early age while growing up in the sparsely populated Upper Peninsula of Michigan. As a sophomore, she petitioned her principal to offer the PSAT, which was not previously offered. As the MSU student body Vice President for Governmental Affairs, she has hosted on-campus debates for local elections, doubled dorm voter registration efforts, and create easy to read, nonpartisan guides for every election. MSU saw a 21 percent increase in the turnout rate for the 2018 midterm elections.  Maysa is currently conducting independent research to examine the potential impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on electoral manipulation in countries with regularly scheduled elections during 2020. Maysa will study Conflict Transformation and Social Justice at Queen’s University Belfast.

Amelia Steinbach is a senior at Duke University, where she is an Alice M. Baldwin Scholar – a prestigious four-year women’s leadership program meant to replicate the benefit of women’s colleges within a liberal arts education. A Political Science major, she is the primary instructor of a course that explores the history of women in the American government and the disproportionate impact of various policies on women and girls.  Amelia served as a research fellow for Kathy Manning’s congressional campaign in North Carolina in 2018 and interned with U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) in 2019. After the internship, the Washington Post published her editorial detailing the lack of race and gender diversity in the Senate Judiciary Committee’s expert witness hearings. The piece emphasized the responsibility that leadership and staff in both parties have in addressing this imbalance. She will attend Harvard Law School in the fall of 2023. Amelia will study Gender, Politics and International Relations at University College Dublin.

Maura Welch is a speechwriter for Boston Mayor Marty Walsh. She has written speeches about a host of local and national issues, including climate action and racial justice, and developed creative outreach materials including videos, opinion columns, and a podcast. She is especially adept at handling sensitive topics, such as the Trump Administration’s changes to Title IX protections for survivors of sexual assault, the Mayor’s commitment to protecting immigrants and refugees, the city’s response to the opioid epidemic, and the murder of George Floyd. After graduating from The George Washington University with a degree in Environmental Studies in 2013, she worked for The Nature Conservancy’s Islands Program on Martha’s Vineyard where she managed communications for a new citizen science program, developed educational curricula for the public school system, and coordinated sustainability projects. Maura sees clear parallels between COVID-19 and the climate crisis and is ready to play a bigger role in promoting sustainability and equity in Boston. She will study Comparative Social Change at Trinity College Dublin.

 Selena Zhao was selected last year for a Mitchell Scholarship, but a sports-related injury resulted in her deferral to the Class of 2022. Selena graduated in May 2020 from Harvard with a degree in Government. As a student, she researched consociationalism and the impact of this form of power-sharing. She has explored the topic in Nigeria, Lebanon, and wrote her senior thesis on the Good Friday Agreement and how it incentivizes the ethnonational divide for political gain. Selena has worked as a research assistant for several Harvard professors and contributed to Professor Steve Levitsky’s bestseller How Democracies Die. In London, she interned with the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, researching a UK centrist platform. Before university, Selena was a competitive figure skater for the Canadian International Team and was the 2015 Junior National Champion. She managed and performed at An Evening with Champions, a yearly fundraiser for pediatric cancer research. She will study Conflict Transformation at Queen’s University Belfast.

PSAT National Merit Scholar Qualifying Scores, Class of 2021 (Lower than 2020)

This post applies to students who took the test in October 2019 (NMS Class of 2021).

The big news is that every state saw a drop in the qualifying score for the NMS Class of 2021, including five with a 4-point decline and one, South Dakota, with a 5-point decline.

“What is somewhat surprising is how sharp the difference is between the highest scoring states and everyone else,” writes Art Sawyer at Compassprep. “Of the 10 states at a cutoff of 221 or higher for the class of 2020, 8 saw only a 1-point decline. Illinois and Texas were the exceptions, with 2-point declines. The average decline among the other 40 states was 2.7 points.”

The selection index score is the sum of your three PSAT scores, maximum of 228. The first score listed is for 2021; the second was the score required for the class of 2020; and the third is the score for the class of 2019.

Alabama 212, 216, 216
Alaska 212, 213, 215
Arizona 218, 219, 220
Arkansas 212, 214, 214
California 221, 222, 223
Colorado 217, 220, 221
Connecticut 220, 221, 222
Delaware 219, 220, 222
Dist Columbia 222, 223, 223
Florida 216, 219, 219
Georgia 219, 220, 220
Hawaii 217, 219, 220
Idaho 214, 215, 214
Illinois 219, 221, 221
Indiana 215, 218, 219
Iowa 212, 215, 216
Kansas 218, 218, 219
Kentucky 214, 217, 218
Louisiana 212, 215, 217
Maine 213, 215, 217
Maryland 221, 222, 223
Massachusetts 222, 223, 223
Michigan 216, 219, 219
Minnesota 218, 219, 220
Mississippi 211, 214, 215
Missouri 214, 217, 217
Montana 210, 214, 214
Nebraska 213, 216, 216
Nevada 215, 218, 218
New Hampshire 215, 218, 219
New Jersey 222, 223, 223
New Mexico 211, 213, 215
New York 220, 221, 221
North Carolina 217, 219, 220
North Dakota 209, 212, 212
Ohio 215, 218, 219
Oklahoma 211, 214, 216
Oregon 217, 220, 221
Pennsylvania 217, 220, 220
Rhode Island 216, 218, 220
South Carolina 212, 215, 216
South Dakota 209, 214, 215
Tennessee 215, 219, 219
Texas 219, 221, 221
Utah 212, 215, 215
Vermont 212, 216, 216
Virginia 221, 222, 222
Washington 220, 221, 222
West Virginia 209, 212, 212
Wisconsin 213, 216, 216
Wyoming 209, 212, 212
Commended 209, 212, 211
Territories 209, 212, 211
International 222, 223, 223

To qualify for a National Merit Scholarship, the PSAT must be taken in the student’s junior year of high school. Many parents may not be aware that there is no single nationwide score on the PSAT that will qualify a student to become a NMS semifinalist, a critical preliminary step on the way to becoming a finalist and then perhaps a merit scholar.

Students are classified according to the state in which they attend high school, not the state of actual residence.

For more information about confirmation scores, please see PSAT Scoring and NMS (for a detailed explanation of scoring); The National Merit Journey: What You Need to Know, Part One; and The National Merit Journey Part Two: The Parent’s Role.

Semifinalists emerge from the top 3-4% of students (50,000 or so) taking the test, by virtue of the PSAT score alone. The top 3-4% of students earn “commended” status, and there is a national uniform score for commended students=209 for 2021. (See below for SAT equivalent.) Semifinalists, on the other hand, account for fewer than 1% of all students, or about 16,000 nationwide.

From these students, the merit scholar foundation, using state allocation levels, selects about 15,000 to become finalists; and from this group, about 9,000 are actually selected as merit scholars, based on both PSAT and SAT scores and a letter of recommendation from the high school principal. Therefore, many students who meet the semifinalist thresholds listed below do not go on to become finalists or merit scholars (two different things, though for some schools being a finalist is sufficient to earn support). We speculate that meaningful improvement on the SAT, taken in the spring of the junior year, relative to the PSAT score from the preceding October, may help in identifying students who go beyond finalist status and become merit scholars.

Each state has its own threshold PSAT score, which is the baseline for students to be considered as semifinalists in a given state. The scores vary widely for the NMS class of 2021, from 209 in West Virginia to 222 in the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, and New Jersey.

Honors Completion Rates: Leading Honors Colleges and Programs

In previous posts, one extremely lengthy and detailed and the other explaining our formula for setting target completion rates, we have tried to explain the differences between university grad rates, honors program grad rates, and honors program completion rates.

The first two are straightforward: The university rate will always be lower than the honors program rate because of the greater selectivity and mentoring associated with honors programs. The university grad rate for honors students averages 86-88 percent, and is sometimes as high as 97 percent.

An honors completion rate goes a step beyond the honors graduation rate. The grad rate is for honors entrants, whether or not they completed all honors requirements by the time of graduation. The completion rate is the percentage of honors program entrants who not only graduated from the university but also completed all honors program requirements for at least one option. Some programs have multiple options, with the requirements for first-year entrants averaging about 30 honors credits and a threshold for transfer students of 15-18 hours or so.

In our study for 2020, we have obtained honors graduation and completion rates from 31 honors colleges and programs. Below, in Table 1, we list the programs with the highest completion rates, all above the mean of 57.2 percent. In this table we also list the honors graduation rate, the highest credit-hour completion requirement for each program, and the average 2020 SAT scores for first-year entrants.

The top six programs all had honors completion rates of 70 percent or higher. This is a remarkably high number when one considers that many of these programs require an honors thesis. Many elite private colleges no longer require a thesis for graduation or for honors recognition. The top six programs, in terms of raw ordinal completion rates, are CUNY Macaulay Honors College; UIUC’s CHP Honors Program; the UT Austin Plan II Honors Program; Penn State’s Schreyer Honors College; the South Carolina Honors College; and Arizona State’s Barrett Honors College.

HONORS PROGRAMS, STRONGHon ProgramHon ProgramMax HonorsAverage SAT
COMPLETION RATESCompletion RateGrad RateCompletion Req2020 1st Yr
CUNY Macaulay81.586.8361410
Illinois CHP80.394.7181500
UT Austin Plan II79.797.2421466
Penn State Schreyer HC78.097.3351410
South Carolina HC77.094.3501475
Arizona St Barrett HC72.088.0361370
UAB HC69.683.6301400
Kansas UHP69.095.0311420
College of Charleston HC67.989.3341370
Oklahoma HC67.788231426
Washington St HC67.677.1251313
Clemson HC67.097.0291483
Delaware HC63.093.0301426


In Table 2, below, we show adjusted honors completion rates for programs after the impact of university graduation and freshman retention rates are taken into account. In contrast to Table 1, the table shows the extent to which programs have exceeded expectations in light of these two factors.

We find that seven programs achieved an adjusted completion rate that exceeded the target rate by 10 or more percentage points: CUNY Macaulay Honors College; the UAB Honors College; the Kansas University Honors Program; the College of Charleston Honors College; the South Carolina Honors College; Arizona State’s Barrett Honors College; and the Washington State Honors College.

Table 2
PROGRAMS W/ COMPLETION RATESHonors ProgramUniversityUniversity FreshTARGET
> TARGET COMPLETION RATECompletion RateGrad RateRetention RateRATEDIFF +/-
CUNY Macaulay HC81.5548454.7226.78
UAB HC69.6558254.5615.04
College of Charleston HC67.9567954.0713.83
Kansas UHP69.0638057.9011.1
South Carolina HC77.0748866.0410.96
Arizona St Barrett HC72.0668761.7110.29
Washington St HC67.6637957.5710.03
UT Austin Plan II Honors79.7829572.357.3
Illinois CHP80.3859373.197.11
Houston HC61.0548555.055.95
Oklahoma HC67.7679063.204.50
Penn State Schreyer HC78.0869373.694.31
Oklahoma St HC58.6628157.730.87
Nevada Reno HC55.5578155.230.23


Maintaining the “Honors Difference” During the Pandemic: Virginia Tech Honors College

Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of posts on how public university honors colleges and programs across the nation are maintaining “the honors difference” during the COVID-19 crisis. 

Our thanks to Virginia Tech Honors College for contributing this article. Contact Michelle Fleury (mfleury@vt.edu) for more information.

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus), Virginia Tech transitioned to distance learning for the remainder of the Spring semester after March 23, 2020. The Virginia Tech Honors College, through innovative initiatives like the SuperStudio, has continued to facilitate an extraordinary education for Honors students even during these challenging times.

In Spring 2020, the Virginia Tech Honors College, in collaboration with the School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA) and University Studies, was able to launch SuperStudio. For the next few semesters, topics courses in environmental policy, healthcare, emerging technologies, the future of higher education, and the future of employment will all meet together to examine the possibilities and implications of a Green New Deal, an emerging framework for understanding and addressing interconnected crises in climate change and economic equality.

VaTech SuperStudio laid the groundwork for honors collaboration after COVID-19

Faculty and students rotate among the topics courses, which meet simultaneously in the same studio space, and all come together once a week to consider issues and processes that apply to all transdisciplinary work, such as ethics, equity, policy, problem framing, and innovation.


The learning environment of SuperStudio is designed to be highly energized, engaging, and collaborative. “I like being in a space where there’s a lot going on, but we’re not necessarily doing the same thing,” explained Honors student Nina Tarr. “SuperStudio feels like a community.” Nina says her favorite aspect of SuperStudio is the crossing over of sections, such as policy overlapping with higher education.  “I also like the theme of the Green New Deal and how we can tie that together with all the different sections,” said Nina.

Collaboration is key, now possible by merging SuperStudio practices and utilizing Zoom

By allowing different sections to work together and meet across topics for common activities, SuperStudio provides plenty of opportunities for students to develop critical skills and knowledge. “I really enjoyed the experience of being in a big room with all the sections and being able to meet each day of the week in different sections,” said Thomas Miller in the Future of Higher Education section. “We would team up with other sections and kind of combine the ideas that allowed for everyone to experiment with what they were thinking about. So, you would be pushed to think about your own ideas about your topic in different ways. It’s a way to meld ideas together to have a cool discussion.”

The collaborative structure developed in SuperStudio has made the transition to online interactions easier because connections between students and faculty across sections were already established at the beginning of the semester. Students were able to know each other well in their smaller sections, but also had many opportunities to regularly interact with faculty and students across sections. “It’s definitely easier to collaborate in SuperStudio because it was already highly collaborative and we all know each other very well,” said Nina. “So, it’s more comfortable to collaborate and it’s easier to connect.”

Honors College SuperStudio is continuing its highly collaborative format online on Zoom, a popular software platform that provides videotelephony and online chat services often used in distance education. Zoom meetings are hosted online with professors from each section and smaller groups continue to break off in individual Zoom meetings to work together on activities or projects that are extensions of those original discussions. It’s this combination of SuperStudio’s unique design and the pre-established connection that allows SuperStudio to still thrive in distance learning.

“I would say SuperStudio is more collaborative [compared] to [my] other courses. A lot of people are still working together in group projects and creating their own learning together,” Thomas said. “For a lot of my other courses, I wouldn’t call it ‘collaboration.’ I’d call it more of a discussion board… It’s not a real conversation or real collaboration. It doesn’t make you feel like you’re in a classroom [like you feel when in SuperStudio].”

The impact of Honors courses traditionally rests on their small class sizes. “The SuperStudio adds the advantages of experiential, collaborative learning.” said Paul Knox, Dean of the Virginia Tech Honors College, adding that “With our model, we have been able to maintain these advantages through synchronous online learning.”

Meetings with students often focused not only on class topics and projects, but on understanding current events and working through the relationship of class materials to evolving news stories. In this way, students engaged with materials more deeply and maintained more in-depth connections with faculty than if video interactions were limited solely to class-specific materials. Students have maintained connections with fellow students and faculty across topics sections by meeting with different SuperStudio faculty and different groups of students to propose ideas for and develop drafts of final projects. To continue maintaining strong relationships with students and to help students navigate their education during this time, faculty members also expanded their virtual office hours. “The connection is still there,” said Miller. “You have to rely on yourself more, but the bigger issues are still very answerable. E-mail and Zoom correspondence work pretty well.”

SuperStudio has also sustained its visiting speaker series online. Since the transition to distance learning, for example, SuperStudio had the pleasure of speaking with British Economics and Politics Commentator Grace Blakeley, author of “Stolen: How to Save the World from Financialization.” Despite the transition to an online format, the talk was even more interactive. Students were able to ask Blakeley questions ranging from how to “hack” financialization to advice on where to study heterodox economics. Having the audience as well as the speaker on Zoom actually allowed for even closer interaction than if the audience was in person. Blakeley, as the speaker, could see students more individually from the crowd while they asked questions, and therefore, was able to follow-up more personally. Students also appeared to feel more comfortable to engage in this video-conferencing format with the visiting speaker. The success of this format makes it an attractive option for engaging future speakers with the student audience in Honors.

Some New Honors College “Rankings” Have Appeared Elsewhere; Here’s Our Take

By John Willingham, Editor

Recently, Google searches are listing two new sites that claim to rank public university honors programs and honors colleges. Their “rankings” in most instances bear a close resemblance to the ratings we have produced since 2012. Aside from the likelihood of  extensive (unattributed) borrowing from our copyrighted work, the fact is that most of the data necessary to rank or rate these programs is not publicly available. We are the only site or organization in the country that does have access, gained only after many years of dialogue and collaboration with honors deans and directors across the nation. One wonders how these new rankings were developed. Or were they mostly “borrowed”?

Our collaborative process yields enormous amounts of data. For example, to calculate honors class sizes, we have to analyze about 10,000 honors classes for each addition. Much of the data required for this analysis is not available on honors sites or even on university-wide course schedules.

And still we do not “rank” programs. Typically, I have an opinion, based on data, about the best five to ten programs in the nation among those rated in a given edition. The data may show that one is “better” (a higher point total) than all the rest. And then I think about how I have weighted each of the 13 rating categories. If I were to change any of them, the ratings would change. All is driven by the methodology, and nobody’s methodology is perfect. It is a matter of judgment in the final analysis. It is not scientific in the truest sense, even with all the data involved. I can give you an exact figure for honors class sizes at Honors College A, but the rating proportion I assign to that exact figure is subjective.

If it’s not science, don’t present it as science. Ordinal rankings present themselves as science. But just imagine how the U.S. News rankings would change if all the institutional wealth metrics were removed or if selectivity did not count.

Thanks to the cooperation of honors deans and directors across the nation, we now receive for each rated profile 10-20 pages of documents, much of it hard data on class sections and course offerings. No one else obtains this level of unique data. Even by going online and reading every entry in the university’s course schedule one will not find the volume and specificity of data that we need for honors course analyses. That’s because honors programs offer mixed and contract sections that are not transparent in online course listings.

This brings us to the new rankings.

One lists “The 9 Best Honors Programs” in the nation. Here is the methodology:

“To put together our list, we evaluated the national honors college rankings from the past two years. We also evaluated honors colleges based on admissions requirements, curricular and extracurricular program offerings, emphasis on fostering an honors student community, financial aid opportunities, and unique or innovative approaches to the honors educational experience.” [Emphasis added.]

First, how does someone quantify “an emphasis on fostering an honors student community” or “innovative approaches to the honors educational experience”?

Second, I do not know of any “national honors college rankings,” although we announce the top 5-10 programs, in one alphabetical group, every other year. These programs are “top” only within the data set of rated programs for a given edition. No program is declared number one, or number three, or number ten for that data set, much less for the entire universe of honors programs. They are a instead placed in a group. Our refusal to anoint any program with a specific ranking number has, in fact, caused one prominent program to stop cooperating with us.

The “9 Best” site does not hesitate to do so: “Ranked #1 among honors colleges in the United States, Barrett College has a presence on ASU’s four campuses in Phoenix, Mesa, Tempe, and Glendale, Arizona.” Although Barrett, under its longstanding Dean, Mark Jacobs, achieves excellent results year in and year out, I do not know of any recent ranking that specifically lists Barrett or any other honors program or college as number 1. It is true that Barrett has been in the highest (five mortarboard) group in all of our editions. But so has the South Carolina Honors College, Penn State’s Schreyer Honors College, the Plan II Honors Program at UT Austin, the University Honors Program at Kansas, and, since 2016, the Macaulay Honors College at CUNY. These are very different programs, ranging from extremely large (Barrett) to very small (UT Plan II.)

Other strong programs are at Clemson, Delaware, Georgia, Houston, and Ole Miss. Data from Maryland, Michigan, and North Carolina is no longer available, but in one or more previous editions, all received excellent ratings.

The “9 Best” site above also lists Penn State Schreyer, Clemson, and Rutgers Honors College among the best honors colleges, and adds UT Plan II, Kansas UHP, and the Echols Scholar program at UVA. Then in a “best bang for the buck” category, it lists CUNY Macaulay and the Alabama Honors College. (We have not included Echols after the 2014 edition because the new methodology in place since 2016 requires much more class data. Echols students can take almost any class at UVA, and it’s not possible to determine which ones those are at any given time.)

Another site lists “the top 50 honors programs and colleges”-a list which bears an uncanny resemblance to programs we have rated over the years. The list includes several programs that were not prominently mentioned until they appeared in one of our books: New Jersey Institute of Technology, Temple, Colorado State, and CUNY Macaulay, among them.

Here is the methodology behind this list:

“Below, we have compiled a list of the nation’s top honors colleges/programs. The selection was based on the following indicators of program quality.

  • The selectivity of the college/university (overall)
  • The selectivity of the honors program
  • Average honors class size
  • Number of honors classes
  • Availability of honors housing
  • Whether priority registration is offered to honors students

“Schools marked with an asterisk (*) rated especially high on several indicators and were ranked among the top 20 honors programs according to our methodology.”

All of the above information is in our publications. Further, “availability” of honors housing can be calculated only if one knows both the number of honors “beds” and the number of eligible honors students. One can know the true number of honors classes only if there is access to full spreadsheets, not just online listings, especially those limited to the honors homepage. And the true average class size likewise relies on extremely detailed data not available from online sources. Finally, some of the test scores listed on the site are incorrect and misleading.

Yes, I realize that U.S. News has several competitors in ranking colleges and universities. And, often, many of these rankings roughly correspond, especially at the most elite brand level. But…these competing ranking organizations all gather their own data, even while applying different methodologies, refrain from unseemly borrowing.