KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Princeton Review for the first time stripped a college of its rankings Monday after learning that the University of Missouri-Kansas City knowingly submitted false data.
The company first said it was pulling the school's 2014 rankings as being among the top 25 best college and business school entrepreneurial programs for graduates and undergraduates. The Princeton Review later announced it also would strip the rankings for the three previous years at the university's request.
UMKC Chancellor Leo E. Morton said in a written statement that the school revised its application process in 2014 and "has great confidence in that year's rankings submission," but he noted that the school understood why The Princeton Review took action.
"Even one inaccurate data point is one too many, and our integrity is paramount," Morton said in the statement. "With that in mind, we have requested that The Princeton Review withdraw our rankings from 2011, 2012 and 2013, based on the inaccurate information provided for those years."
Robert Franek, a senior vice president for The Princeton Review, said in a written statement that the company was "extremely disappointed" to learn about the problems.
"Schools earn a spot on our entrepreneurship ranking through school-reported data," Franek said. "Every school signs an affidavit to ensure their information is accurate. We take these affidavits and this news very seriously."
Stripping a ranking is a step that the 34-year-old Princeton Review had never taken since releasing its first ranking in 1992. The move came after the University of Missouri System, which governs the Kansas City campus, on Friday released a report by international accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Gov. Jay Nixon requested the report after The Kansas City Star last year investigated the validity of claims made by the Henry W. Bloch School of Management. It confirmed problems with the numbers of student clubs and mentorship programs and enrollment figures for the entrepreneurship program. For instance, the man responsible for submitting rankings applications told auditors that a "wish list" of clubs was assembled and that a graduate student was instructed to post them on the university's website, making it look as though those clubs existed.
The report also was critical of an article in an academic journal that ranked UMKC as the No. 1 school in the world for research in the field of innovation management. The report found that the article was edited in part by the former head of the Bloch School department receiving the top ranking.
Morton said UMKC had taken steps to prevent future issues, including appointing someone to lead a special faculty committee to oversee ranking applications.
"UMKC and the Bloch School are committed to ensuring that the academic integrity of this institution is maintained and strengthened and we are confident that the months ahead will show we have achieved that," Morton said.