Date of Submission
Campus Only Senior Thesis
Bachelor of Arts
© 2017 Nicolas C Blumm
This thesis explores the fundamental ethics and purpose of elite higher education. Beginning with an inquiry into the history of American higher education, this work reveals that the U.S. News & World Report “Best College” and “Best University” ranking lists hold an increasingly important role in distinguishing institutions, particularly those within the elite tier. Following an examination of the U.S. News’ methodology, this analysis confronts concerns with individual access to elite institutions. Although there are potential changes to the U.S. News’ methodology that could improve institutional assessment, this thesis does not propose alternative rankings. Rather, it focuses on many institutions’ problematic choice to use the rankings as a guide for admissions and institutional practice. This work evaluates the potentially stratifying components of elite institutions and questions what American higher education inculcates in students. This endeavor concludes by providing suggestions for how to democratize elite institutions in order to realize their respective missions and improve access to educational opportunities.
Chapter I: Introduction & Motivation
Chapter II: History
Chapter III: The U.S. News & World Report Rankings
Chapter IV: The Current System of Higher Education
Chapter V: For Society’s Benefit
Blumm, Nicolas C., "On the Purpose & Ethics of Elite Higher Education" (2017). CMC Senior Theses. 1713.
This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.