One of only three Iowa colleges to make the A+ colleges for B students list
DUBUQUE, Iowa — Loras College has been named the 13th Best Regional College in the Midwest – a 12-state region – according to the 2019 U.S. News Best Colleges rankings released Monday. Loras also ranked among three state institutions as A+ for B students, ninth in Best Value and was one of three schools in Iowa to make the Best Undergraduate Engineering Program list.
The 2019 U.S News ranking includes data on nearly 1,800 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.
“It’s always encouraging to be recognized on a national level,” Jim Collins, president of Loras, said. “At the same time, however, it’s important to realize such rankings comprise only part of the holistic view of our performance. It’s important that families and prospective students look into other consistent and valid measures in assessing the strength of any institution.”
Some of that criteria, he said, includes – peer academic assessment; percentage of faculty with a Ph.D. with or terminal degree, 95 percent at Loras; and graduate outcomes. For instance, 98.4 percent of Loras’ 2017 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 in fields such as business and education. As most of the 324 colleges in this category draw heavily from nearby states, they are ranked by geographic region.
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. Thanks to the generous scholarship and financial aid packages, Loras students also saw an average reduction of $21,256 in the cost of attending the College. Therefore, the typical Loras student is only charged $20,806 per year. The total average cost at Iowa’s state universities is approximately $21,233.
Staying true to its goal of keeping a Loras education within a student’s reach, 100 percent of all incoming students receive institutional aid and the College directly awarded more than $28 million in scholarships and grants during the 2016-17 academic year.
“The financial support we receive not only helps me attend Loras but it creates opportunities for so many other students on campus,” junior Raudel Fierro said. “When you give to Loras, you inspire us, our families, our faculty and our staff. Your gifts help make Loras the special place we call home.”
Loras was one of three regional Iowa schools to make the A+ Schools for B Students list. To be eligible, schools have to be ranked among the top three-quarters of their peer groups in this year’s rankings and admit a meaningful proportion of non-A students in fall 2017 based on SAT reading and writing math scores or composite ACT scores and high school class standing.
The U.S. News Best Value ranking, with Loras ranking ninth, calculates a school’s academic quality based on its Best College ranking and the 2017-2018 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.
“The recognition is a great testament to the dedication of our faculty and the entire Loras community to our students,” Donna Heald, vice president of academic affairs, said. “The College continues to offer extraordinary academic experiences and delivers them on an individual level that enables our students to succeed.”
The U.S. News standings come on the heels of Loras finishing as the highest-ranked Catholic and fourth best college or university in Iowa in the 2018 College Consensus Best Colleges and Universities in Iowa rankings. Loras also was recently ranked third among Iowa’s 34 private not-for-profit colleges according to MONEY Magazine’s 2018 Best Colleges For Your Money list.
ABOUT LORAS COLLEGE
Loras 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 institutions to deliver challenging, life-changing experiences as part of its residential, Catholic setting. Loras ranks among 450 NCAA Division III athletic programs in Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup standings, 11th out of the Top 100 baccalaureate colleges, according to the 2016 Washington Monthly College Rankings, 13th Best Regional College, according to Midwest U.S. News Best Colleges and is among the 200 Best-Loved Colleges in the nation, according to Forbes Magazine.