College rankings come in handy when a student/parent is making a decision of where to study. Although, they are a measure to grade colleges, are they good enough? When the budget cuts came in place around the 1980s and the number of students kept increasing each year, college administrators saw the expanding student population (the 'market' for their services) as an opportunity to enlarge the size and standing of their campuses. This led to a competition between universities for prominent faculty which was judged based on their salaries. In a race to the top of the competition, they expanded and modernized their laboratory space to attract prestigious government grants. New sports facilities were built along with dormitories that advertised comforts unheard of till the 1980s. Schools have chosen to compete on the basis of amenities (fancy buildings, excellent food, ample staff) in a scramble to the top of the rating tables.
These facilities are an important part of the learning process at colleges, but are they doing any good to the overall education that the student receives? These facilities cost a lot of money and don't contribute much to the quality of education on campus. Looking at college from a completely educational viewpoint, there hasn't been any substantial growth in the quality of education from 1960s to now while the cost of college has gone up by over 3 times.
Is being on top of the rating table so important that we spend so much money on 'facilities' and charge the students for them in the name of 'tuition fees'?