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University of Iowa News Release

Jan. 12, 2006

Kiplinger's Ranks UI Among Top 50 Public Universities For Value Education

The University of Iowa is among the top 50 public universities in the country when it comes to offering academic excellence at an affordable price, according to Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine's 2006 ranking of the 100 "Best Values in Public Colleges."

The ranking, which appears in the February issue of the magazine, placed the UI 47th in the country based on in-state tuition. Additionally, UI was ranked 72nd in the country among public universities based on its out-of-state tuition.

"It is always gratifying to be recognized in a public forum for what we do, which is to offer an exceptionally high quality education at a very reasonable cost," UI Provost Michael Hogan said about the ranking. "A listing like this helps to confirm the university's national reputation for excellence."

Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa also ranked among the top 100 public universities. ISU was ranked 71st based on in-state tuition and 81st based on out-of-state tuition, while UNI was ranked 97th and 83rd in those categories, respectively.

Taking the top three places in this year's Kiplinger's ranking were the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (first place for in-state, third place for out-of-state); the University of Florida (second place for in-state, fifth place for out-of-state) and the University of Virginia (third place for in-state and seventh place for out-of-state).

The rankings, last conducted in 2003, were based on data that more than 500 public four-year colleges and universities provided to Thomson Peterson's, which is a part of Thomson Learning. Kiplinger's supplemented Peterson's data with its own reporting.

Kiplinger's methodology relies heavily upon indicators of academic strength, including percentage of the 2004-05 freshman class scoring 600 or higher on the verbal and math components of the SAT (or scoring 24 or higher on the ACT), admission rates, freshman retention rates, student-faculty ratios and four- and six-year graduation rates.

Schools also were ranked based on cost and financial aid (accounting for base tuition, fees, room and board and estimated expenses for books), the average cost for a student with need after subtracting grants (but not loans), the average cost for a student without need after subtracting non-need-based grants, the average percentage of need met by aid (need-based assistance) and the average debt a student accumulates before graduation.

To determine out-of-state rankings, Kiplinger's ran the academic-quality and cost numbers again using total out-of-state costs and average costs after aid.

In an article accompanying the ranking, Kiplinger's reports that public universities have had to be extremely creative to keep costs down and to boost financial aid in the current economic climate, still making them attractive alternatives to pricey private schools. 

"State budget crises pushed up average tuition and fees at four-year public colleges by 57 percent over the past five years" according to the College Board," Kiplinger's reports. "At the same time, many colleges have cut financial aid, some by 20 percent to 40 percent. But with an average annual tuition of $5,491, public colleges still beat the $21,235 tab you'd pay at a private school."

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Media: Stephen Pradarelli, 319-384-0007, stephen-pradarelli@uiowa.edu.