Paul Caron of Taxprof blog has an interesting post about Baylor University's sneaky plan to raise its US News ranking by paying admitted students to retake the SAT. The students get $300 just for retaking the text, and $1000 if they beat their previous score by at least 50 points. Caron worries that law schools might imitate Baylor's plan, and try to manipulate their US News rankings by paying admitted students to retake the LSAT. Perhaps even the payments could be on a sliding scale depending on how much the student improved over their previous score.
There is a simple solution to this problem at both the undergrad and law school level: US News and other ranking systems should only take into account scores that were compiled before the the student was offered admission. That way, the danger of manipulation would be eliminated, and universities and students won't squander time and money on test retakes.
There are many problems with the US News rankings that would be difficult to solve. This potential danger is one that can probably be forestalled fairly easily.
In the meantime, I'd like to see if my alma mater, Amherst College, would be willing to pay me to retake the SAT and retroactively improve its US News ranking from when I was a freshman. If they make it worth my while, I'd be happy to do it!