The University of Northern Iowa maintained its rank as the second-best regional public university in the "Best Regional Universities (Midwest)" category for the 18th consecutive year in the recently released 2020 U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Colleges 2020” report.
Overall, UNI improved to No. 20 in the Midwest regional rankings, and it was the highest ranked master’s institution in the Midwest.
“The U.S. News &World Report continues to recognize the value of a UNI education,” said President Mark A. Nook. “Our consistent placement near the top of the rankings demonstrates our commitment to student success, outstanding campus experience and the preparation our students receive to flourish in their careers and personal lives.”
Since 2008, UNI has never ranked lower than No. 3 in the category.
The ranking comes on the heels of several other markers of success at UNI.
In its analysis of enrollment and success indicators, student achievement remains high. In addition to its 44.1% four-year graduation rate (an increase of four percentage points over last year and the highest rate in the university’s history), UNI realized an 83.4% retention rate for first-time, full-time freshmen returning this fall.
Strong graduation and retention rates also mean students are moving through their degree programs at a steady pace – which helps them limit their debt. UNI was recently recognized as a national leader in low student indebtedness – due, in part, to the university’s “Live Like a Student” program promoting financial literacy.
In 2018, UNI students graduated with the second-lowest debt in the state, marking more than a decade of decreasing student debt that highlight the institution’s continual efforts to provide an accessible, high-quality education. Over the past 10 years, the average UNI student’s debt has decreased by 14%.
According to the methodology used by U.S. News & World Report, rankings are based on several key measures of quality. Peer assessment, graduation and retention rates, student/faculty ratios and average alumni giving are all used to rank colleges.