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Prof. Randall Reback authors new study on college quality-of-life rankings

A new study by economics professor Randall Reback and Molly Alter ’10, research analyst for the Research Alliance of New York City Schools and Prof. Reback’s former research assistant, was released today by the American Educational Research Association.

The new study, “True for Your School? How Changing Reputations Alter Demand for Selective U.S. Colleges,” examines reputational quality-of-life and academic rankings, such as lists published by U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review, to determine their effect on individual schools. Prof. Reback and Alter conclude that these types of rankings can have a measurable effect on the number and quality of applications a school receives, and on the academic competitiveness of the resulting freshman class.

Read more about their research from CBS News, Inside Higher Ed, Hechinger Report, InTheCapital, University Herald, and the Atlanta Journal Constitution..

Watch a video of Prof Reback discussing his findings.


Prof. Reback joined Barnard’s faculty in 2003. In addition to his teaching duties for the department of economics, Prof. Reback is affiliated with Barnard’s urban studies program. His work has been recognized by awards from the AERA/NSF/Institute for Education Sciences Research, the American Education Finance Association, and the National Institute of Mental Health.