U.S. Department of Education Announces Major Settlement with Temple University | site |

(Information contained in U.S. Department of Education press release: December 4, 2020)

Washington - - U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced today a settlement agreement with Temple University for what the Department alleges are false representations to U.S. News & World Report to bolster the school's ranking in the annual U.S. News college rankings. The Department's investigation probed the alleged submission of false information by Temple's Fox School of Business and Management ("Fox School") to U.S. News & World Report between 2014 and 2018.

"We know many students rely on rankings to make decisions, and in this case students were presented deliberately falsified information by Temple's Fox School," said Secretary DeVos. "It has been our commitment from day one to hold all higher education institutions — non-profit, proprietary, and public — accountable to the same standards and to ensure students are protected from bad actors who would deceive students about the quality of their education programs. Fraud can happen anywhere, and fraud must be stopped everywhere."

Because students rely significantly on U.S. News & World Report and other third-party educational program quality rankings in choosing among educational institutions and providers, the Department alleges the Fox School knowingly and intentionally submitted false information to artificially inflate its U.S. News & World Report rankings for online MBA and other programs. The Department further alleges that the Fox School then knowingly and intentionally republished the false rankings many thousands of times via online portals, social media, fully wrapped buses and newsstands, highway billboard signs, and advertisements at airport terminals, on trains, at train stations, in magazines, in newspapers, and on television and radio. The Department contends that this conduct knowingly, intentionally, and substantially deceived students about the Fox School's program rankings and wrongly increased its enrollment and revenue.

Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Temple will pay a $700,000 fine but does not admit any liability or wrongdoing. Temple cooperated fully with the Department's investigation and asserts that, after determining that inaccurate data had been submitted to U.S. News & World Report, it ceased providing inaccurate information in 2018, withdrew its online MBA and certain other programs from ranking consideration for 2018, and implemented significant measures to ensure that data misreporting does not recur.

This investigation was led by the Department's Office of the General Counsel and Federal Student Aid.

A copy of the settlement agreement is linked here