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Rigging the Rankings

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My only surprise here is that this guy was caught for rigging the numbers to help out his university’s placement in the idiotic rankings that have come to dominate higher education conversations in this country.

The former dean of Temple University’s business school fed false data to U.S. News & World Report for years to inflate the school’s ranking and attract students, federal prosecutors alleged, in their latest crackdown involving higher education.

Moshe Porat, who ran the Richard J. Fox School of Business for more than two decades until his ouster in 2018, was charged by a federal grand jury with conspiring to defraud applicants, students and donors by falsely boosting the school’s ranking for online MBA programs to No. 1 four years in a row.

The alleged scheme, which prosecutors claim lasted from 2010 to 2018, was outlined in an indictment unsealed Friday in federal court in Philadelphia, where the university is based. The grand jury concluded that Porat, who was paid nearly $600,000 for the 2017-2018 school year, should forfeit all personal gains from the alleged fraud. Even after he left his role as dean, he has continued to be a tenured professor, earning more than $300,000 a year from Temple although he hasn’t taught classes or published research since 2018, according to the court filing.

“The goals of the conspiracy included attracting more students to apply to Fox, matriculate at Fox, and pay tuition to Fox, and enticing Fox alumni and other benefactors to donate money to Fox,” the government said in the indictment. Fox benefited financially because each Temple school is permitted to keep 87% of its revenue, with the rest going to the university, according to the U.S.

The indictment reflects an aggressive stance by the Justice Department in bringing criminal cases alleging cheating in college admissions. The most notorious of them, and the subject of a recent Netflix documentary, is the prosecution of corrupt admissions strategist Rick Singer and dozens of wealthy parents who allegedly conspired to get their kids into elite universities by fixing their test scores and faking bios to present them as star athletes for recruitment.

I wonder how many college administrators are checking under the beds right now, squirreling away money in hidden places, and otherwise freaking out that what they were hush hush paid to do is now something law enforcement is actually paying attention to.

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