PHILADELPHIA -- Temple University's online MBA program is back in U.S. News and World Report rankings for the first time since 2018, when the school disclosed it had provided false data.
Before that disclosure, the program ranked No. 1. Now, it's tied for 88th out of more than 300 schools.
The rankings were released at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday.
Temple called the new ranking disappointing but not surprising.
"When Temple first reported issues with submitted data to the publication in January 2018, we understood that it would take time to restore the inevitable damage to the ranking and reputation of the Fox School," the university said in a statement. "But it was the right thing to do to restore public trust in the integrity of our data."
Temple's online MBA program had ranked first for four straight years before the school reported it had submitted false data. U.S. News dropped the program from the rankings, and the university hired a law firm to investigate. That firm concluded that Fox in some cases "knowingly" provided false data to the rankings organization. The longtime dean, Moshe Porat, was removed from his position; he has since sued the university, claiming he has been unfairly blamed.
Temple instituted its own review and took steps to tighten procedures for reporting rankings data throughout the university, including the hiring of an external auditor. Agencies including the U.S. Department of Education, the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office, and an accrediting agency launched probes, and the university subsequently found that inaccurate data had been reported about several other Fox programs.
In late 2018, the university agreed to pay $4 million to settle a class-action lawsuit filed by former students of its Online MBA program who claimed the school's rankings scandal devalued their degrees.
Last month, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced a settlement with Temple that included $250,000 in new scholarships for Fox students. The false reporting, "done intentionally and knowingly to boost the school's rankings, elevated Fox Business School as the nation's top online MBA program for several consecutive years," Shapiro said in a statement at that time. "The school used this ranking to attract prospective student applicants.
"This behavior misled students, alumni, employers and the public about the quality and value of these Temple programs. Temple University has accepted responsibility for its role in this conduct and has been proactive and cooperative in addressing it." he added.
U.S. News ranks online MBA programs in five areas: faculty credentials and training, student excellence, engagement (how well they promote participation), expert opinion (based on a survey of academic officials at MBA programs), and student services and technologies.
Three other Pennsylvania universities placed in the top 10 for online MBAs. Carnegie Mellon was third, Pennsylvania State University's World Campus sixth, and Villanova University ninth. Indiana University-Bloomington had the best program, according to the rankings.
Other local universities that placed higher than Temple include: Lehigh (18th), Delaware and West Chester (47th, tie), Drexel (54), Pittsburgh (59), Rutgers-Camden (69), and St. Joseph's (80).
(Staff writer Erin Arvedlund contributed to this article.)
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