Leilani Burke/Sun Staff Photographer

Students studying in Mann Library on Sep. 8. Cornell University is now ranked first in New York state.

September 12, 2022

U.S. News and World Report Ranks Cornell #1 in NY, Columbia Tumbles Amid Scandal

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Cornell has been named the best university in all of New York state, according to the 2023 Best National Universities rankings published by U.S. News and World Report.

While still remaining the 17th best university in the nation, Cornell has now surpassed Columbia University, which saw a significant drop this year in rank, falling from No. 2 to No. 18.

Columbia’s downfall came after Columbia University Prof. Michael Thaddeus, mathematics,  started questioning the program’s soaring ranking, which in 2021 tied in second along Harvard and MIT.

In February, Thaddeus published a detailed, analytical report, exploring explanations for Columbia’s abnormally soaring ranking.

“A few other top-tier universities have also improved their standings, but none has matched Columbia’s extraordinary rise,” Thaddeus wrote. “It is natural to wonder what the reason might be.”

Thaddeus’ findings suggested clear signs of number manipulation by Columbia to produce favorable but misleading data sets.

“Key figures supporting Columbia’s high ranking are inaccurate, dubious, or highly misleading,” Thaddeus wrote. “[We found] discrepancies, sometimes quite large, and always in Columbia’s favor.”

On Sept. 9, upon a thorough internal review and investigation, Columbia released a statement, admitting that the data it provided had signs of inaccuracy. In the statement, Columbia followed up with detailed plans to improve its data accuracy.

“We determined we had previously relied on outdated and/or incorrect methodologies,” the statement said. “We have changed those methodologies for current and future data submissions, as reflected in the newly posted Common Data Sets.”

According to the U.S. News and World Report, the Best Colleges ranking provides an assessment of 1,500 national bachelor’s degree programs on 17 measures of academic quality. This year marks the 38th year of releasing these rankings.

Cornell received an overall score of 86 out of 100, scoring a point lower in comparison to last year. The University scored high in multiple categories, ranking fifth in best colleges for veterans, ninth in undergraduate engineering programs, eighth in business programs and fifth in computer science. However, Cornell lagged behind in several areas, ranking 270 in social mobility, showing much room for improvement.