Kansas State is one of the nation's 25 most desirable large public universities based mostly on selectivity, endowment, test scores — and oh, yeah, Manhattan's climate.
The Kaplan/Newsweek 2010 college rankings listed the Manhattan campus as the 16th most desirable.
But it turns out that Newsweek researchers drew that conclusion based on information that had been misreported by K-State for two years in a row. Oops.
After learning of the error, researcher Courtney Kennedy ran the data again, using corrected information.
K-State "would have been knocked out of the top 25," said Kennedy, who helped compile the ranking.
The piece of information causing the gaffe was not the Kansas weather, but K-State's reported admission rate. The school's planning and analysis office mistakenly reported to the National Center for Education Statistics that of all the students who applied in 2008, only 56 percent were admitted.
That would make K-State a selective institution. It's not.
The actual admission rate at K-State is about 98 percent, said Pat Bosco, vice president for student life.
Like the University of Kansas and other four-year public institutions in Kansas, in-state students at K-State are automatically admitted if they score at least 21 out of a possible 36 on the ACT, are in the top third of their graduating class, or have at least a 2.0 grade-point average.
Cheryl May, a K-State spokeswoman, said someone at the university misunderstood which percentage the federal database was requesting and instead gave the percent of students who, after acceptance, attend the university.
In selecting the top 25 most desirable public institutions, Newsweek considered 11 criteria, including campus dining, housing and climate. The most weight was given to admission rates, graduation rates, test scores and endowment.
"We appreciate that the overall criteria ranked us among the 25 most desirable large schools," May said.
"We win lots of awards. We earn them. We don't want to get any award that we don't deserve. We want to make sure any recognition of K-State is based on accurate and real data."