Clemson University climbed six spots in this year’s annual U.S. News and World Report college rankings – finishing in a six-way  tie for No. 62 on the prestigious list. Meanwhile the University of South Carolina climbed three spots into a five-way tie for No. 112 – almost erasing last year’s four-spot decline.

Good news, right? Eh … sort of.

Clemson has now almost climbed back to where it was in 2009 – when the school was busted artificially inflating its standing on this survey. Still, Clemson has failed to achieve president James Barker’s goal of becoming a national Top 20 public university. South Carolina? The state’s “flagship” institutioin remains four spots below its 2009 ranking.

Clemson’s fixation with the U.S. News survey – reported first on FITS – quickly morphed into outright duplicity and embarrassing childishness on the part of its president, James Barker, who sought to boost his school’s status by ranking it ahead of Harvard, Stanford and other top-tier institutions of higher learning.

Funny, huh?

This year’s increases come with a price, though. Tuition at South Carolina’s two largest government-run schools has skyrocketed in recent years – especially at Clemson.

For the 2013-14 school year, in-state students at Clemson will pay $13,054 while out-of-state students will shell out $30,488 (not counting fees). Those are massive increases over the last decade-and-a-half even after adjusting for inflation … 173 percent for in-state students and 134 percent for out-of-state students.

Meanwhile South Carolina – which saw its tuition increase by 13 percent annually from 2001 to 2005 – is currently the seventh-most expensive public university in America (despite ranking 55th on U.S. News list of public colleges). In-state students currently pay $10,816 a year while out-of-state students pay $28,528 (not counting fees).

Speaking of that latter figure … recent reports have revealed that tuition breaks provided to out-of-state students are doing a whole lot of nothing for South Carolina’s economy.

U.S. News and World Report Best Colleges 2014