A Columbia University Rankings Scandal

Columbia University has been removed from the 2022 US News & World Report ranking and will not participate next year.

In a stunning turn of events that sent shockwaves across the college admissions landscape, Columbia University, ranked second along with Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the 2022 US News & World Report annual college ranking, has been quietly removed from the 2022 ranking. Additionally, the elite university has announced that it will not participate in the 2023 US News ranking. And why such a turn of events? Because it seems that Columbia may have misreported some data to the publication, as pointed out by a Columbia math professor. Yes, an institution with a strict honor code, may have violated its own code of conduct.

As Anemona Hartocollis reports for The New York Times in a piece entitled “Columbia Won’t Participate in the Next U.S. News Rankings,” “The deadline to submit data for the rankings is Friday, and a university spokesman said officials needed more time to analyze the data and address the criticisms raised by the professor, Michael Thaddeus. In a 21-page stinging critique Dr. Thaddeus posted on his website in February, he not only challenged the data behind the rating but added fuel to the debate over whether college rankings — used by millions of prospective college students and their parents — are valuable or even accurate.”

And how will this move impact Columbia’s standing? As Hartocollis writes, “For an Ivy League school like Columbia to withdraw from the rankings, even temporarily, is a blow to their reputation and could spur other universities to reconsider their participation as well. Many college presidents complain that the rankings force them to emphasize statistics that oversimplify what it takes to find a good match between a student and a school.”

We, of course, don’t envision the US News college ranking going away anytime soon nor do we foresee other elite universities pulling out of the competition. In fact, we believe Columbia will be back competing for a top slot on the annual list in 2024 (after its year hiatus). After all, it’s not like some universities — although no university as prestigious as Columbia — has been caught with their hand in the cookie jar misreporting data to US News in the past. Remember when Emory University and Claremont McKenna College fudged their numbers? We do, we do! We wrote about these admissions scandals ten years ago. Hey, we’ve been at it a while!


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  • Jason Smerconish says:

    I think several people have mentioned in past posts that Columbia is NOWHERE NEAR #2 in the USA. I mean that was a joke ranking from the get go. Subjectivity be damned, but Columbia is not even the top school in NY in my opinion. That ranking should go to Cornell, whose business school is harder to get in than any of Columbia’s schools. Anyway hats off to that wacky professor for throwing his employer under the bus. He is my HERO! And the Hero of a great many people who know their schools are lying their asses off about their data.

    • Andrew says:

      Columbia is much harder to get into in most of its programs. Wealthier, vastly superior libraries, established 1754, harder admissions at undergraduate, law, business and medical schools. World class Journalism School. Pulitzer Prize each year.

      Cornell ? No way. What are you imagining ?

  • Joon Song Kim says:

    It appears Columbia’s deception far outweigh those of any other institution, thus far, as their misreporting is deep and widespread and affects multiple categories. If Emory and Claremont McKenna were guilty of misdemeanors Columbia os guilty of felony grand larceny. This really is big news as Columbia has become an absolute darling of the new generation of liberal and minority high achieving students. I am sure, as flighty as teenagers are, this will not be cool in their eyes. I predict a fairly significant drop in applications this Fall to Columbia and look for Columbia peers like Brown and UPenn- who seem to attract the same demographic- to benefit from their temporary removal. You have applicants overseas who speak poor English but know that top 20 list by heart. Leaving the list is an embarrassment for a school, But embarrassment of riches for its competitors.

    • James says:

      Overplayed. I doubt it. By 2024 it will be back. It is too central in influence in education. And, maybe Columbia is close to what it says anyway, given its enormous resources. ???

      Undergraduate education is superb at Columbia, ranking metrics or otherwise. And the other ranking companies still include Columbia as tops.

  • Jason Smearconish says:

    First off, Jason Smerconish is not even a real person. Man up dude and post your real name!!
    A lame math professor is your hero??? Geez no wonder you post using a fake name!!

  • moderate the moderator says:

    moderate away!!!! please find a better way to verify people!!

  • Andrew says:

    If Columbia were to accept me for the class of 2026 or 2027 I would certainly continue to consider it a great opportunity. Very few places would I pass up Columbia in preference to. It is and will remain a top Ivy. This froth will pass and has no bearing on the outstanding education offered at Columbia. The required undergraduate courses are indeed small classes with to academics.

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