DUBUQUE, Iowa – Loras College has been named the 16th Best Regional College in the Midwest – a 12-state region – according to the 2021 U.S. News Best Colleges rankings released Monday. Loras also ranked tenth in Best Value and was one of three schools in Iowa to make the Best Undergraduate Engineering Program list.
The 2021 U.S News ranking includes data on nearly 1,452 colleges and universities. Eligible schools are ranked on academic excellence, including assessment of excellence, graduation and retention rates, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources and alumni giving. Unlike most other publication rankings, U.S. News doesn’t require institutions to complete a survey, invest in advertising or pay fees to be part of the listing.
“During these tumultuous times, it is gratifying to again be validated as an outstanding regional academic institution,” said Loras President Jim Collins (’84). “Further, it is humbling to be designated among the region’s top 10 best value and the only one in the state of Iowa. As always, these rankings are but one measure of an institution’s strength.”
Some of that criteria, he said, includes – peer academic assessment; percentage of faculty with a Ph.D. with or terminal degree; and graduate outcomes. For instance, 98.8 percent of Loras’ 2019 graduates found employment or continued their education within one year of graduation. Unlike most institutions, Loras calculates its percentage by including all graduates and not just those who complete a survey.
The Regional Colleges category includes schools that focus almost entirely on the undergraduate experience and offer a broad range of programs in the liberal arts and fields such as business and education.
The U.S. News rankings also reiterated Loras’ financial commitment to its students. Of the regional colleges in Iowa on the list, it had the lowest percentage of graduating students who required loans to pay for their education.
The U.S. News Best Value ranking, with Loras ranking tenth, calculates a school’s academic quality based on its Best College ranking and the 2019-2020 net cost of attendance for a student who received the average level of need-based financial aid. The higher the quality of the program and the lower the cost, the better the ranking. Loras is the highest-ranked Iowa school on this list.