DUBUQUE, Iowa — Loras College, a four-year Catholic liberal arts college, has been named the 13th Best Regional College in the Midwest – a 12-state region – according to the 2018 U.S. News Best Colleges rankings released Tuesday. Loras also ranked ninth in Best Value and first in Best Colleges for Veterans in Midwest.
The 2018 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 encouraging to be recognized at a national level, especially in one of the most reputable rankings available,” Jim Collins, president of Loras College, 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 student-to-faculty ratio, 12 to 1 at Loras; percentage of faculty with a Ph.D. with or terminal degree, 97 percent at Loras; and graduate outcomes. For instance, 99 percent of Loras’ 2016 graduates found employment or continued their education within one year of graduation.
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 Best Value ranking, with Loras ranking ninth, calculates a school’s academic quality based on its Best College ranking and the 2016-2017 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 deal.
Only schools in the top half of their U.S. News ranking, like Loras, are included because U.S. News considers the most significant values to be among colleges that perform well academically.
Staying true to its goal of keeping a Loras education within a student’s reach, the College directly awarded nearly $29 million in scholarships and grants during the 2016-17 academic year.
To make the Best College for Veterans list, with Loras ranking first, an institution had to meet the following criteria:
- The institution is certified for the GI Bill.
- The institution participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program or is a public school that charges in-state tuition to all out-of-state veterans.
- an institution must have enrolled a minimum of 20 veterans and active service members, or a critical mass, in the 2016-2017 academic year.
- The institution must be in the top half of its U.S. News ranking category.
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.