Ranking of universities in the US has thrown up several cases of fraudulent reporting by places like George Washington and Claremont McKenna. Others have taken a more strategic route by re-prioritizing their spending to target higher scores in the metrics that matter. I just linked to a Boston Magazine story on Northeastern's efforts to align its priorities with those of US News.
We now have a BBC story about the French government taking this strategic route, which will cost "only" 7.5 billion euros:
As part of a huge government-driven academic and economic project, there will be a new university called Paris-Saclay, with a campus south of the French capital. The project has initial funding of 7.5bn euros (£5.9bn) for an endowment, buildings and transport links.
The French government is bringing together 19 institutions into a single structure, with the aim of building a university of a size and scale that can compete with global giants like Harvard or the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Dominique Vernay, the president of this new university, says that within a decade he wants Paris-Saclay to be among the top ranking world universities.
"My goal is to be a top 10 institution," he says. In Europe, he wants Paris-Saclay to be in the "top two or three".
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Sometime ago, we also saw a study that looked at how much it would cost Rochester -- "consistently ranked in the mid-thirties" -- to break into the top 20 in the US News list. It arrived at a figure of 112 million dollars to take care of just two of the metrics -- faculty salary and resources provided to students.