Iowa's three public universities considered a 'best value'

Despite slipping a few spots, University of Iowa ranked higher than ISU, UNI

Vanessa Miller
Published: December 13 2013 | 1:28 pm - Updated: 29 March 2014 | 12:49 am in
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Iowa’s three public universities again have been ranked among the top 100 best values in higher education by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine.

Both Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa moved up more than 20 spots on the list, while the University of Iowa slipped seven spaces from No. 49 last year to No. 56 this year, according to the 2014 rankings published this week.

The UI still ranked highest among the state’s three regent universities on the new list – ISU came in at No. 62, up from No. 85, and UNI ranked No. 71, up from No. 95.

When looking just at its value for out-of-state students, however, UI ranked lowest among the three schools at No. 86, compared No. 64 for ISU and No. 80 for UNI.

The rankings analyze data from about 600 public institutions and sort them based on an array of quality measures like admission rates, test scores, and graduation rates. Cost data – like tuition, fees, room and board and financial aid – is then factored in, and the schools are ranked.

The list, according to Kiplinger’s, is based “entirely on measurable criteria.”

“Neither our opinion nor anyone else’s affects the calculation,” according to the publication.

The school earning the top spot on the list this year was the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill – marking its 13th time at No. 1. The highest ranking Big Ten school was the University of Michigan, which has ascended the rankings in the past three years thanks to marginal cost increases and improving academics, according to the magazine.

According to statistics compiled for the list, the UI has a 78 percent admission rate, a 47 percent four-year graduation rate and an average debt at graduation of $28,554. Data for ISU and UNI shows 83 percent and 78 percent admission rates, respectively, a 39 percent graduation rate for both schools, and an average debt of $30,374 for ISU – those numbers weren’t available for UNI.

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