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Release: Sept. 7, 2001

UI ranked 24th best U.S. public national university

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa is tied for 24th place among the best public national universities in the country, according to the latest rankings published by the magazine U.S. News & World Report. The ranking places the UI in the top 15 percent of some 161 public national universities.

Sharing the 24th spot on the magazine's influential 2002 "Top 50 Public National Universities -- Doctoral" list with the University of Iowa are Rutgers University-New Brunswick, the University of Delaware and Virginia Tech. The UI's tie for 24th place compares to a ranking of 20th last year, when only 147 public national universities were compared. The UI was 21st in the 2000 ranking and 26th in 1999.

The magazine also ranked undergraduate programs in business and engineering, where the Henry B. Tippie College of Business tied for 35th (with the Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of Pittsburgh), compared to a tie for 28th last year. The UI College of Engineering tied for 53rd (with Drexel University, Rutgers University-New Brunswick, the University of Delaware, the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and the University of Missouri-Rolla), compared to a tie for 56th last year. The undergraduate business and engineering rankings are based upon surveys of respective deans and senior faculty.

UI President Mary Sue Coleman said the rankings reinforce the UI's reputation as a very affordable, first-rate university, yet they do raise issues about funding.

"This year's rankings confirm that the UI continues to provide excellent educational opportunities, research, and service to our state and nation," she said. "I am very proud that we are able to do so at a reasonable cost. The rankings also remind us that resources are critical to maintaining and enhancing our excellence.

"If you analyze the breakdown of our ranking criteria, you will see that we improved or maintained our rankings in academic reputation, freshmen retention, six-year graduation rates, student-faculty ratio, ACT scores, and several other categories," Coleman added. "These improvements are great. However, our overall ranking dropped somewhat this year because of declines in other areas: our class sizes went up and our percentage of full-time faculty went down, most notably. These negative changes are a direct result of funding problems. In order to maintain and enhance our high quality, we must stabilize and improve our funding base."

The U.S. News & World Report rankings are based on questionnaires filled out by administrators at more than 1,400 universities and colleges. The data collected is scored on 16 indicators in seven categories: academic reputation, retention, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources, graduation rate performance and alumni giving rate.

The 2002 "national universities -- doctoral" category contains 249 U.S. colleges and universities (161 public and 88 private), 21 more institutions than the 228 (147 public and 81 private) included in the 2001 "national universities" category it replaces. In making the change, U.S. News re-categorized many schools and added several institutions to its rankings to reflect changes made last year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in its highly regarded college and university grouping system. The new "national universities -- doctoral" category includes the 249 U.S. colleges and universities offering a full range of undergraduate majors, plus master's and doctoral degrees, and emphasizing faculty research.

The annual U.S. News & World Report "America's Best Colleges" guide is scheduled for publication in the Sept. 17 issue of the magazine on newsstands Monday, Sept. 10, and the college guidebook, with more than 1,400 college rankings, goes on sale the same day. The rankings and other information are available on-line at beginning at 5 p.m. CDT Thursday, Sept. 6.