ISU ranks 38th in list of top 50 universities

Melissa Berg

Iowa State is the 38th best public university in the nation, according to a survey by U.S. News & World Report.

In its 13th-annual survey of colleges and universities, the news magazine placed Iowa State 38th among the top 50, a significant jump from its 1998 ranking of 45th.

But although ISU moved up in the comprehensive rankings of institutes of higher education, officials say the numbers are all relative.

“We don’t put a lot of emphasis on the ranking,” said John McCarroll, director of University Relations. “It is a compliment to be judged, and we are glad to be in the top 50.”

ISU President Martin Jischke also said he was pleased with the improvement of this year’s ranking.

McCarroll said a panel was being formed to survey the ranking and look at reasons for the improvement.

The University of Iowa also improved its ranking from 26th in 1998 to 21st this year.

Several other Iowa colleges placed in different categories.

In a separate ranking of regional colleges, Drake University in Des Moines ranked second and the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls placed 18th in the Midwest universities category.

Grinnell College was listed as the 11th-best national liberal arts college. Simpson College in Indianola received an eighth-place ranking among the Midwest’s best liberal arts colleges.

The U.S. News & World Report rankings are based on seven key measures of quality to arrive at a final overall score.

Academic reputation, graduation and retention rates, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources, alumni donations and graduation-rate performance are used to acquire a score for national universities.

The ranking formula gives greatest weight to academic reputation because a diploma from a distinguished college helps graduates get a good job or gain admission to top graduate programs, according to U.S. News & World Report.

The data acquired in these rankings came from surveys filled out by presidents, provosts and deans of admission at institutions in the same category.

The University of California-Berkeley ranked first among public universities, followed by the University of Virginia, the University of California at Los Angeles and the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.