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U.S. News rankings: Iowa State remains among top 25 percent of public national universities; engineering moves up
AMES, Iowa -- Iowa State University is once again among the top one-fourth of all public national universities in U.S. News & World Report's 2008 "America's Best Colleges" annual rankings.
U.S. News ranks Iowa State 38th among 164 public national universities, down slightly from 36th last year. Iowa State's public ranking is a tie with North Carolina State University, Raleigh; the University of Kansas, Lawrence; and the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse.
Iowa State ranks 85th in the "Best National Universities" category, which contains 262 American universities (164 public and 98 private) that offer a wide range of undergraduate majors, as well as master's and doctoral degrees. ISU was ranked 81st last year and 85th two years ago. Iowa State's current 85th ranking is a six-way tie with North Carolina State, the University of Kansas, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, the University of Denver, and American University, Washington, D.C.
For the sixth year, U.S. News has included Iowa State's learning communities among its "Programs to Look For" -- outstanding examples of academic programs that are commonly linked to student success. Iowa State is among only 24 colleges and universities recognized by U.S. News for learning communities.
U.S. News & World Report also ranked undergraduate engineering programs accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Among public universities' engineering schools whose highest degree is a doctorate, Iowa State is tied for 22nd with Arizona State University, Tempe; and the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Overall, Iowa State's engineering program ranks 37th, up from 39th last year. Iowa State is tied with Arizona State; Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio; Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Penn.; the University of California, Santa Barbara; and Yale University, New Haven, Conn.
Ag engineering jumps to No. 2
In engineering specialties, at schools whose highest degree is a doctorate, Iowa State's agricultural engineering program jumped four spots to No. 2 among the top programs in the U.S. The ranking is based on the opinions of deans and senior engineering faculty nationwide.
"We are pleased that our engineering programs are being recognized for their quality and international impact," said Mark J. Kushner, dean of ISU's College of Engineering. "I expect that as our programs become more widely recognized, our rankings will continue to rise."
U.S. News & World Report also compiled a list of schools whose students in the class of 2006 graduated with the heaviest and lightest debt loads. Iowa State ranks 7th among national universities on the "most debt" list, with 69 percent of graduates incurring debt.
"From 2000 to 2006, private loans in the student's name carried lower interest rates than borrowing in the parents' names, so families chose private student loans as a way to minimize interest charges," said Roberta Johnson, director of student financial aid at Iowa State. Now, a 7.9 percent fixed interest rate on the Federal Direct Parent (PLUS) Loan is making that a more viable option, Johnson added, so she is beginning to see a decrease in the number of students who choose private loans.
"We are also emphasizing financial literacy programs to help our students and their families understand the implications of student debt. In the long run, these changes should help to mitigate the debt load of our students," Johnson said.
Highlights of the annual college rankings are scheduled for publication in the Aug. 27 issue of U.S. News & World Report magazine, available on newsstands Aug. 20 and online Aug. 17. For more information, log on to www.usnews.com.
Iowa State will post any relevant extended rankings at www.iastate.edu/~nscentral on or after Aug. 17, when U.S. News makes its premium online content available.
Iowa State University is among the top one-fourth of all public national universities in U.S. News & World Report's 2008 "America's Best Colleges" annual rankings. U.S. News ranks Iowa State 38th among 164 public national universities.
Among engineering specialties, ISU's chemical engineering program is ranked 14th among public universities, 23rd overall.
ISU's College of Business ranks 52nd among public universities, 83rd overall.
"We are pleased that our engineering programs are being recognized for their quality and international impact. I expect that as our programs become more widely recognized, our rankings will continue to rise."
Mark J. Kushner, dean of ISU's College of Engineering