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College rankings criticized

BURLINGTON, Vt., Aug 18 : Middlebury College remained among the top liberal arts colleges while the University of Vermont dropped from 88th to 96th among national universities in controversial rankings from the U.S. News & World Report.

Middlebury tied with Carelton at No. 5 while St. Michael's College ranked 106 in the liberal arts category.

The rankings are facing vocal complaints this year from a group of colleges and educators working to develop an alternative to the system.

Marlboro College President Ellen McCulloch-Lovell along with 60 other college presidents boycotted the rankings by refusing to fill out a survey from which they're determined.

Of 15 indicators, the "peer assessment" survey is the weightiest, making up 25 percent of the total score. Graduation and retention rates, faculty salaries, class sizes and faculty-student ratios, are also considered.

The peer assessment is the main criticism.

"College presidents are asked to rank hundreds of other schools," said McCulloch-Lovell. "No one knows them well enough to do that. I decided I couldn't answer in good faith."

St. Michael's College ranked 106 among national liberal arts colleges.

Princeton holds the top spot for the eight straight year while Harvard was No. 2 and Yale was No. 3. Stanford was No. 4, followed by Cal Tech and the University of Pennsylvania tied for fifth. Williams and Amherst were the highest-ranked liberal arts colleges.

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