Temple University got off with a slap on the wrist for lying its way to a top online MBA ranking from U.S. News and World Report. The school, which also fudged its way to higher ranks for its part-time MBA program, paid a whopping $700,000 fine to the Department of Education for that effort, equivalent to the cost of roughly a dozen online MBAs—the Fox School’s online and part-time enrollment more doubled during its fabulist period—and only a bit more than the $600,000 a year Dean Moshe Porat was paid for engineering it. And, Porat asked, why not?

“I just wish you would all stop being so ridiculous,” he told one colleague who attempted to raise an alarm, according to an exchange quoted in court filings. He reportedly rebuffed another, saying: “It’s not like U.S. News is a federal agency.”

Well, U.S. News isn’t, and under Betsy DeVos the Education Department only barely qualified, but the Justice Department? That’s a different story, one that Porat and his deputies clearly hadn’t foreseen.

Prosecutors accused Moshe Porat, 74, and two subordinates of reverse engineering the criteria by which the magazine U.S. News & World Report evaluated schools and then falsifying information for years to ensure that programs they oversaw appeared at the top of its lists…. Both were charged with one count of conspiracy in a criminal information — a filing that typically suggests a defendant has already agreed to plead guilty. They could face up to five years in prison.

The stakes are considerably higher for Porat, who could receive a sentence of up to 25 years if convicted.

Ousted Temple business school dean indicted on fraud charges tied to college rankings scandal [Philadelphia Inquirer]

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