In the US, colleges compete to get students. The colleges that are not prestigious do so often by means of lower price and not being too selective in whom they admit. The more prestigious and selective colleges do so by means of reputation, and one of the measures by which reputation is measured is by the rankings issued by various bodies. The one that is most looked at is the annual one issued by the publication US News & World Report. It uses measures such as the faculty-to-student ratio, the percentage of classes taught by full-time faculty, the admission scores of the students, the reputation among its peers, graduation rates, and other items. Many of the data are submitted by the institutions themselves and one can see how that can lead to temptation by administrators to fudge the data in order to increase the ranking.
Now a whistleblower at Colombia University, a mathematics professor there, has said that some of the data submitted by his university were incorrect. As a result, the ranking of the university plummeted from 3rd to 18th.