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St. Thomas Law School says it goofed on ranking data

  • March 15, 2012 - 9:53 PM

The University of St. Thomas School of Law announced this week that it provided incorrect employment data to U.S. News and World Report for its just-published annual rankings of "best law schools."

"We are deeply sorry to have failed to catch this discrepancy in our reported data," the university wrote. "We take data accuracy very seriously."

Here's how the university describes the error:

"On line 169 of our Class of 2010 U.S. News Employment data report, the number of graduates known to be employed at graduation is correctly listed as 51 graduates (or 32.9% of our 155 total number of 2010 graduates). Unfortunately, on line 164 of the report, we incorrectly listed 125 graduates (or 80.6%) as employed at graduation. ... We have contacted U.S. News to alert them to the error."

The percentage of students employed nine months after graduation -- 86.5% -- is correct in the rankings, the school said.

Officials caught the mistake when reviewing an advance copy of U.S. News' rankings, Law School spokesman Chato Hazelbaker said. "It looks like to us like a simple typing error," he said. "We are making every effort right now to put triple checks in place."

U.S. News had given St. Thomas a ranking of 119 -- a significant jump from last year. The school is unsure whether that ranking will change once the error is corrected, Hazelbaker said.

The percentage of students employed at the time of their graduation was not required, he said, but St. Thomas included it because "we were really responding for increased calls for transparency."

The nine-month number, which was accurately reported, is the "gold standard," he said.

The at-graduation rate counts 4 percent toward a school's ranking, while the nine-month rate is worth 14 percent, according to the National Law Journal.

JENNA ROSS

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