(Cross-posted on the Official Google Blog)

Pop quiz: What’s significant about the number 61?

(a) Number of points required to win a standard game of Cribbage
(b) The country code to call Australia
(c) Number of Top 100 universities that use Google Apps for Education

As all Aussie Cribbage enthusiasts attending college in the U.S. may suspect, this is actually a trick question—all three answers are correct!

Today, U.S. News and World Report released their 28th annual ranking of the top higher-education institutions across the nation. While this list of schools represents traditions of academic excellence that span centuries, these institutions also clearly recognize the importance (and value) of modern technology in academia. We’re thrilled that 61 of this year’s top 100 universities have chosen Google Apps for Education to help improve communication and collaboration on campus.

We’re proud to see such historic institutions moving to the world of 100% web. Here are just a few of the schools from this year’s “Top 100” that have gone Google:
  • Yale University
  • Northwestern University
  • Brown University
  • Vanderbilt University
  • University of Notre Dame
  • University of Southern California
  • Wake Forest University
  • William and Mary
  • Brandeis University
  • Case Western Reserve University
  • University of Maryland
  • Boston University
  • Rutgers University
  • Clemson University
  • University of Minnesota
To show our appreciation to these great schools, and to help students better explore and evaluate their college options, we’re providing a year’s worth of free access to the U.S. News complete rankings for anyone who registers before Friday, September 16. Just sign up and you’re all set.

Finally, it’s not just about who is using Google Apps. We’re also interested in how students and staff are using Google tools to do amazing things inside and outside the classroom. Since 61 is the magic number, we’ve compiled 61 stories directly from students, faculty and staff at these universities: www.google.com/apps/top100schools.

These 61 schools represent just a small portion of the 14 million students, faculty and staff now using Google Apps for Education. All over the world, Google Apps is helping schools offer their communities a better way of working together, and we’re honored to be a part of this new tradition.