beardshear hall stock

Beardshear Hall from Central Campus on Sept. 19.

In the U.S. News and World Report's "Best Colleges" rankings released last Tuesday, Iowa State University was ranked 53rd out of 132 in the national public universities category, just two spots below their ranking from last year. 

Out of the 311 national universities included in the rankings, Iowa State tied for 115th. 

Iowa State also earned the number one spot for Best Undergraduate programs in biological and agricultural engineering, tying with Purdue University and Texas A&M University.  

Rankings are based upon academic reputation among university presidents, graduation and retention rates, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources, graduate rate performance and alumni giving. 

John McCarroll, executive director of university relations, believes that Iowa State's increased enrollment over the past decade has contributed to the university's current rankings. 

"Iowa State has experienced a dramatic increase in our enrollment over the past decade, which is a testament to our academic programs, the student experience here and the success our students have in landing jobs or continuing their education," McCarroll said. "However, we have not been able to hire as many faculty members as we believe are needed to deal with the large enrollment increase. This also has affected our student-to-faculty ratio."

McCarroll also said that admissions selectivity as a land-grant school has affected Iowa State's ranking.

"As a land-grant university, we accept all students who meet the admission requirements," McCarroll said. "Access to education is a key element of the land-grant mission. So, we do not rank as high in student selectivity as some other universities."

Iowa State was also highly ranked in the engineering and business categories ranking 40 out of 205 and 78 out of 494 respectively. 

U.S. News also recognized Iowa State as one of 11 public universities providing "stellar" learning community programs. 

For more information about Iowa State's 2017 U.S. News and World Report's "Best Colleges" undergraduate rankings, visit their website.

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