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University of Iowa News Release

Aug. 18, 2003

UI Ranks High In Value, Quality Of Life In Two National Guides

The University of Iowa is a great educational value, and it makes Iowa City one of the "coolest places to work, play, study, party, and live," according to two national rankings published this month.

Kaplan Publishing's "The Unofficial, Unbiased Guide to the 328 Most Interesting Colleges, 2004" includes the UI among "Schools that offer the best value for your tuition dollar," and Outside Magazine's Sept. 2003 issue ranks the UI 10th on its list of the Top 40 "Schools where you can hit the books AND the back country."

"There are many ways to measure or characterize a college or university," said Michael Barron, director of admissions. "Recognition in publications like these helps us to let students and their parents know that we're continuing to make providing the very best educational experience possible at the lowest cost our top priority."

The Kaplan guide is based on a national survey of high school guidance counselors as well as interviews with randomly selected students at each campus. The guidance counselors named 59 schools, including the UI, "Best Value" institutions by weighing their cost against the quality of education.

Although tuition has risen sharply due to state budget cuts, the guide notes that the UI did not cut its financial aid budget and says that new president David Skorton is a "proven fundraiser." The UI was the only university in the state to be named a "Best Value."

The guide singles out the UI English program as an example of excellence and also praises professional programs and the medical education at "one of the nation's strongest public university medical programs."

A student says: "Iowa turns out a lot of fine scholars. This school is best for people who want to go on to graduate school."

The guide also features candid student observations about the academic and social life at the 328 most interesting colleges of 2003-2004 and valuable advice from two of the country's leading authorities on college admissions. Authors Trent Anderson and Seppy Basili share their opinions about trends on campuses - which schools have changed for the better, which for the worse; the pros and cons of attending a particular school; and advice on which types of student should apply to a certain school, and which types should not.

"With its great college town atmosphere, Big 10 sports and its artistic events, Iowa's an awesome place to spend your college years," Seppy says. "Just be sure to sign that four-year graduation contract (and then don't break it.)"

Outside Magazine editors invite readers to "rappel off that ivory tower and take our cram course on America's most adrenaline-friendly colleges. You'll come for your B.A. (Bachelor of Adventure) and want to stay for life."

The list of activities available near the UI includes mountain biking at Sugar Bottom Recreation Area, kayaking and canoeing on the Iowa River, climbing the limestone cliffs at Palisades-Kepler State Park, and cross-country skiing at MacBride State Park. Undergraduate majors in environmental studies, environmental science, leisure studies and therapeutic recreation are noted. The UI also gets credit for 46 adventure- and sports-related organizations, everything from the Cycling Club to the Lawn Sports Club-and two student environmental groups.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Mary Geraghty Kenyon, 319-384-0011,