The University of Southern California is facing a lawsuit that alleges the school intentionally misled U.S. News & World Report and prospective students, the Wall Street Journal reports.
USC and a contractor, 2U, are accused of using information about USC’s Rossier School of Education and claiming it applied to the online programs offered by the school, even though that information only was accurate for in-person classes.
In addition, even if that information was applicable, it was based on falsehoods, the suit alleges.
The Rossier School announced earlier this year that falsified information had been provided to U.S. News & World Report for at least five years, prompting the school to withdraw from the rankings.
“At the time USC pulled out of the rankings, in March, U.S. News & World Report Chief Data Strategist Robert Morse said the publication relies on schools to accurately report and verify their data,” the Journal reported.
The lawsuit filed by the National Student Legal Defense Network, a nonprofit, additionally alleges that USC and 2U promoted the rankings to advertise to potential students.
“USC intentionally falsified data to inflate their U.S. News ranking, and 2U used the false numbers to pad their profits,” Eric Rothschild, litigation director of the NSLDN, told the Journal.
USC and 2U have not yet responded to the lawsuit.