DUBUQUE, Iowa — Loras College has been named the 11th Best Regional College in the Midwest category and one of only 13 A+ Schools for B Students in the Regional Colleges: Midwest category according to the 2017 U.S. News Best Colleges rankings released Tuesday.
This year’s rankings saw Loras College move up two positions from 2016. The climb reflects improvements in the college’s graduation rate and an increase in the percentage of first-year students who ranked in the top 25 percent of their high school class.
“I was especially gratified to see our higher ranking this year was driven by our graduation rate,” Jim Collins, president of Loras College, said. “That corresponds with the fact that 97 percent of our graduates from the last three years reported being employed or continuing their education within one year of graduation.”
The U.S. News 11th ranking comes less than two weeks after Loras College was ranked 11th among all baccalaureate colleges, U.S. colleges and universities by Washington Monthly.
The 2017 U.S News edition includes data on nearly 1,800 colleges and universities, and 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.
The rankings measure the strength of undergraduate academic programs, with eligible schools ranked on areas of academic excellence, including: assessment of excellence (22.5 percent), graduation and retention rates (22.5 percent), faculty resources (20 percent), student selectivity (12.5 percent), financial resources (10 percent), graduation rate performance (7.5 percent) and alumni giving (5 percent). Loras College was noted for its high peer assessment score, first-year retention rate, 2014 graduation rate and alumni giving rate.
Although the U.S. News Best Colleges rankings (and others like them) are widely publicized and highly visible, Collins reminds prospective students and families they’re not the only way to measure a college’s success in fulfilling its mission.
“Though they may provide insight, and we should certainly celebrate our successes, these rankings comprise only part of holistic view of our performance,” he said. “It’s important that families and prospective students look into other consistent and valid measures in assessing the strength of any institution and determining the best fit for a student.”
For instance, Collins said, some institutions are listed in the highest student debt category while also being named a best value.
The Regional Colleges category is based on the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education and includes schools that focus almost entirely on the undergraduate experience and offer a broad range of programs in the liberal arts and in fields such as business, nursing and education. As most of the 363 colleges in this category draw heavily from nearby states, they are ranked by geographic region.
Finally, the A+ Schools for B Students category examined two variables: the school’s performance in the 2016 edition of the U.S. News Best Colleges rankings and the average freshman retention rate. In addition to passing the first two screens, colleges also had to admit a meaningful proportion of students who did not get straight As to make the final list of A+ Schools for B Students. That determination was made by using fall 2014 admissions data, including high school class standing and scores on the Critical Reading and Math portions of the SAT or composite ACT scores.
About Loras College
Loras College leverages its historic roots as Iowa’s first college, the second oldest Catholic college west of the Mississippi River and one of the nation’s 10 diocesan colleges to deliver challenging, life-changing experiences as part of its residential, Catholic setting. Loras is ranked 11th out of the Top 100 baccalaureate colleges, according to the 2016 Washington Monthly College Rankings and the 11th Best Regional College, according to Midwest U.S. News Best Colleges.
Sue Hafkemeyer, Director of Communication
Office: 563.588.7769 | Cell: 563.590.3999
Thomas Jensen, Public Relations Manager
Office: 563.588.7179 | Cell: 919.930.1997