Ithaca, N.Y. — Cornell University has been ranked the 15th best university by the US News & World Report rankings released Tuesday.

Last year, Cornell was ranked the 16th best. The year before that, it was ranked the 15th best.

Correction: A previous story said the rankings were global. They are, in fact, for national universities.

“Cornell University, a private school in Ithaca, N.Y., started the country’s first colleges for hotel administration, industrial and labor relations, and veterinary medicine,” the magazine says in its ranking announcement.

“Cornell now offers a wide variety of undergraduate programs and runs interdisciplinary research centers for nanotechnology, supercomputing, and more.”

Number 15 seems like a pretty comfortable fit for Cornell. The university earned that spot in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

The university has stated that one of its “overarching aspiration(s)” is to make Cornell “widely recognized as a top-ten research university in the world,” the Cornell Daily Sun reported.

In a 2010 interview, Provost Kent Fuchs said that increasing Cornell’s ranking was essential because “perception impacts reality.”

“If we’re not perceived to be in the top-ten, then the quality of students will decline, the quality of faculty will decline, and the resources [going] to the institution will decline,” he said, according to The Sun.

The announcement has touched off the annual collegiate ritual of whether the rankings actually mean anything. For more on that debate, see here or here.

Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.