By David Beasley
ATLANTA (Reuters) - Emory University intentionally gave incorrect data for more than a decade to publications such as U.S. News & World Report that rank schools and had placed Emory's undergraduate program in a top tier, the school said on Friday.
Beginning in 2000, when publications asked for SAT and ACT test scores for students enrolled in the Georgia-based university, Emory instead sent scores for those who had been accepted, Emory president James Wagner said in a statement.
Scores for students who enrolled at Emory were "somewhat lower" than the scores of those who were accepted, he said.
In 2012, U.S. News ranked Emory, a private university with about 14,000 students, as the 20th best undergraduate program in the nation. Emory said it did not know if its ranking would drop due to the corrected data.
"I am deeply disappointed," Wagner said. "Indeed, anyone who cares about Emory's reputation for excellence in all things must regret this news."
Emory also provided false information on the high school rankings of students entering the university, Wagner said.
The university has submitted corrected data to the publications, and those responsible for the incorrect data "are no longer employed by Emory," the university said.
U.S. News could not immediately be reached for comment.
Earlier this year, Claremont McKenna College in California was found in a report conducted by a law firm it hired to have provided inflated freshmen SAT scores to U.S. News. The report identified the culprit as a vice president for admission and financial aid who has since resigned.
According to an article earlier this year in The New York Times, New York's Iona College reported inaccurate data such as SAT scores, graduation rates and alumni donors, while Baylor University in Texas offered financial rewards to students to retake SATs in an effort to increase the school's average score.
Emory said that in May, its new assistant vice provost for undergraduate enrollment and dean of admissions, John Latting, discovered discrepancies in some data that had been submitted to the publications and alerted Provost Earl Lewis.
Emory did not provide any more details about who submitted the data.
(Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Cynthia Johnston)