LINCOLN — Though most Big Ten universities slipped a notch in the U.S. News & World Report annual rankings of U.S. colleges and universities, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln neither gained nor lost ground in its second year with new peers.
UNL remains ranked 101st among national universities, the same place it held last year. It also remains in last place among Big Ten members.
Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., remains the highest ranked member, No. 12 among national universities, the same rank it held in 2011. The University of Chicago, which partners with the Big Ten's academic arm, the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, tied for fourth place with Columbia University in New York.
This is the 28th year the news magazine has compiled its elaborate rankings of about 1,400 colleges and universities. The rankings are based on 16 indicators of academic excellence, measured through data collected about the institutions, much of it from statistical surveys by the institutions. Indicators include selectivity, student retention, graduation rates, faculty resources, alumni giving and assessments by administrators at peer institutions.
Four categories of institutions are ranked — national universities, which emphasize research and offer a full range of undergraduate majors, as well as master's and doctoral programs; national liberal arts colleges, which focus almost exclusively on undergraduate education; regional universities, which offer a broad scope of undergraduate degree and some master's degree programs; and regional colleges, which focus on undergraduate education and may include schools that primarily offer two-year associate's degrees.
Though the national university list remains dominated by the nation's most prestigious universities, many in the Ivy League, a number of Nebraska and Iowa colleges and universities show up in the list's top echelons.
For the 10th year in a row, Creighton University in Omaha ranked as the No. 1 regional university in the Midwest. It also was ranked first in the Midwest as a “best value” institution for giving students the best return on their tuition investment.
“Creighton takes great pride in the national recognitions it has received,” said the Rev. Timothy R. Lannon, Creighton's president. “This data can serve as a helpful tool for families making the critical decision to find the right college.”
He said he was especially pleased that Creighton has been recognized as a “best value” amid its efforts to pursue academic excellence and innovation in “educating the entire student — mind, body and spirit.”
The University of Nebraska at Kearney ranked 43rd among regional universities in the Midwest. For the third year in a row, UNK was the ninth-highest ranked public institution in its regional university category.
UNK chancellor Doug Kristensen and Charles Bicak, UNK's senior vice chancellor of academic and student affairs, said the ranking reflects UNK's growing academic reputation.
“It is strong validation of the commitment of faculty and staff to our student-centered mission,” Bicak said.
The University of Nebraska at Omaha, which recently moved from regional university to national university status because it now offers more doctoral degree programs, was not ranked, though the magazine has previously cited UNO for having some of the best graduate programs.
UNL ranked 47th among national public universities, up from 49th in 2011. It also was cited for its strong undergraduate research program and was ranked as an “A-Plus school for B students,” a measurement of whether students from outside the highest echelons of academic performance can be admitted and can succeed.
How do other universities compare?
U.S. News & World Report rankings and 2012-13 tuition and fees
Top Ten national universities
1.) Harvard University, $40,866
Princeton University, $38,650
3.) Yale University, $42,300
4.) Columbia University, $47,246
Chicago University, $44,574
6.) Massachusetts Institute of Technology, $42,050
Stanford University, $41,787
8.) Duke University, $43,623
University of Pennsylvania, $43,738
10.) California Institute of Technology, $39,588
Dartmouth College, $45,042
Big Ten universities
12.) Northwestern University, $45,042
29.) University of Michigan -- Ann Arbor, $13,437 in-state; $39,109, out-of-state.
41.) University of Wisconsin -- Madison, $10,384, in-state; $26,634, out-of-state.
46.) Pennsylvania State University, $16,444, in-state; $28,746, out-of-state.
University of Illinois -- Urbana-Champaign, $14,428, in-state; $28,570, out-of-state.
56.) Ohio State University, $10,037, in-state; $25,445, out-of-state.
65.) Purdue University, $9,900, in-state; $28,702, out-of-state.
68.) University of Minnesota -- Twin Cities, $13,022, in-state; $18,022, out-of-state.
72.) Michigan State University, $12,202, in-state; $31,148, out-of-state.
University of Iowa, $8,057, in-state; $26,279, out-of-state.
83.) Indiana University-Bloomington, $10,033, in-state; $31,483, out-of-state.
101.) University of Nebraska-Lincoln, $8,068, in-state; $20,968, out-of-state
Select former Big 12 schools
97.) University of Colorado, $9,482, in-state; $31,378, out-of-state.
University of Missouri, $9257, in-state; $23,366, out-of-state.
101.) Iowa State University, $7,726, in-state; $19,838, out-of-state.
101.) University of Oklahoma, $7,341, in-state; $18,978, out-of-state.
106.) University of Kansas, $9,222, in-state; $22,608, out-of-state.
139.) Kansas State University, $7,657, in-state; $19,123, out-of-state.
Oklahoma State University, $7442, in-state; $19,457, out-of-state.
Midwest regional universities
1.) Creighton University, $33,330
3.) Drake University, $29,556
22.) University of Northern Iowa, $7,635, in-state; $16,721, out-of-state
43.) University of Nebraska at Kearney, $6,486, in-state; $11,991, out-of-state
54.) Concordia University (Seward, Neb.), $23,800
78.) College of St. Mary, $24,350
88.) Wayne State College, $5,520, in-state; $9720, out-of-state.
Midwest regional colleges
7.) Northwestern College (Orange, City, Iowa), $25,740
14.) Hastings College, $24,900
67.) Midland University, $23,664
National liberal arts colleges
22.) Grinnell College, $41,004
145.) Nebraska Wesleyan University, $25,918
167.) Doane College, $25,080
Contact the writer: 402-473-9581, email@example.com