How Minnesota colleges fared in the U.S. News rankings

It’s time again for U.S. News & World Report, which today released its 2012 college rankings — the heavyweight in the rankings game.

Rankings are a controversial business, with critics grumbling over methodology, the volatility of some listings — After all, how much can really change in a year? — and the lengths some colleges will go to game the system. So as usual, take these listings with a big grain of salt.

I’ll soon have up a story today on what those in higher education are saying, but for now take note a couple of changes since last year:

  1. The magazine has reclassified some of the colleges, which causes them to disappear from some listings and appear in others.
  2. It has included for-profit colleges for the first time if they meet the necessary criteria to be ranked. (But as you’ll see, the one’s listed for Minnesota are not.)

Here are the rankings, as compiled by MPR’s newsroom coordinator, Carolina Astrain:

Best National Universities

68. University of Minnesota – Twin Cities

115. University of St. Thomas

177. St. Mary’s University of Minnesota

Top 30 Public National Universities

25. University of Minnesota – Twin Cities

Unranked Schools, listed alphabetically:

Capella University; Walden University

Best Regional Universities – Midwest

11. Hamline University

14. St. Catherine University

19. Bethel University

26. College of St. Scholastica

28. Augsburg College

36. University of Minnesota – Duluth

62. Winona State University

70. Minnesota State University – Mankato

81. Minnesota State University – Moorhead

81. St. Cloud State University

91. Bemidji State University

98. Concordia University – St. Paul

108. Southwest Minnesota State University

Second-tier schools ranked 115-146, listed alphabetically

Metropolitan State University

Top Public Regional Universities 

7. University of Minnesota – Duluth

Best Regional Colleges – Midwest

16. Northwestern College

51. Martin Luther College

57. Crown College

67. North Central University

Second-tier schools ranked 74-97, listed alphabetically

Dunwoody College of Technology

Top Public Regional Colleges – Midwest

3. University of Minnesota – Crookston

Best National Liberal Arts Colleges

6. Carleton College

25. Macalester College

53. St. Olaf College

71. St. John’s University

81. Gustavus Adolphus College

90. College of St. Benedict

189. Concordia College – Moorhead

144. University of Minnesota – Morris

178. Bethany Lutheran College

The High School Counselors’ Picks

National Liberal Arts Colleges

11. Carleton College

17. Macalester College

Best Undergrad Engineering Programs

Schools Whose Highest Degree is a Doctorate

24. University of Minnesota – Twin Cities

Best in the Specialties – Chemical

4. University of Minnesota – Twin Cities

Best in Undergraduate Business

14. University of Minnesota – Twin Cities (Carlson)

Best in the Specialties – Management Information Systems

5. University of Minnesota – Twin Cities (Carlson)

A Strong Commitment to Teaching

National Liberal Arts Colleges

1. Carleton College

6. St. Olaf College

12. Macalester College

Regional Universities – Midwest

5. Hamline University

A-Plus Schools for B Students

(listed alphabetically)

National Universities

St. Mary’s University of Minnesota; University of St. Thomas

National Liberal Arts Colleges

College of St. Benedict; Concordia College – Moorhead; Gustavus Adolphus College; St. John’s University

Regional Universities – Midwest

Bethel University; Hamline University; St. Catherine University; University of Minnesota-Duluth

Regional Colleges – Midwest

Northwestern College

Great Schools, Great Prices

National Liberal Arts Colleges

14. Macalester College

28. Carleton College

40. Gustavus Adolphus College

Regional Universities – Midwest

13. Hamline University

Seeking Diversity

Valuing Economic Differences/National Liberal Arts Colleges

Macalester College (14% Pell Grants), Carleton College (12%)

The Foreign Student Factor/National Liberal Arts Colleges

Macalester College (14% international students)

Most Debt for Class of 2010

Regional Universities – Midwest

College of St. Scholastica ($40,816)

National Liberal Arts Colleges

Concordia College of Moorhead ($35,009)

Regional Colleges – Midwest

Crown College  ($38,042)


Regional Universities – Midwest:

5. Hamline University

  • Due to a Carnegie reclassification (because we now offer more bachelor’s degree programs), this was Dunwoody College’s first year of eligibility for the US News rankings. We elected this year to not participate in the survey (which is why there are all the NAs), but even though we formally notified US News of this, we are still included in the listings. There’s no way to fully opt out once you’re on the US News radar. 

    We didn’t participate because we just didn’t have the time and resources to devote to filling out the survey (which is rather extensive), especially on such short notice. But we are also unsure that US News is equipped to deal with a unique institution like Dunwoody, which is one of only 4 or 5 private, not-for-profit technical colleges nationwide. Our student demographics and degree breakdowns (the majority of our students are still focusing on two-year degrees), program offerings, recruiting strategy, etc. are likely quite different from those of the other Regional Colleges that we’re ranked with (although because of our opt out, I believe that we are not officially ranked). And then, of course, there are the overall issues related to college rankings and the debates that have gone on in higher ed about whether it’s better to play along but not game or not play along at all (or even just go full throttle and try and game the rankings — not something we’re interested in, but certainly there are colleges and universities that do that).  

    On the other hand, some of the data that gets displayed is something that prospective students should have easy access to. And we are curious about how we stack up in certain areas. 

    –William Morris, Marketing & Communications Manager, Dunwoody College of Technology

  • Proud grad (and staff member)

    Great to see Hamline on so many of the lists! In addition to 11th of Best Regional Universities, HU was on lists for Great Schools, Great Prices; Strong Commitment to Teaching; Up and Coming Schools, A+ Schools for B Students. All terrific!

  • Jcmichener

    Just wanted to add this information regarding racial and economic diversity:

    St. Catherine University has the highest racial diversity
    index (0.44) among all Minnesota institutions both public and private
    across multiple categories. The U.S. News formula produces a diversity index between 0.0 and 1.0—the highest possible rating.

    US News also ranks institutions’ “Economic Diversity,” that
    gauges an institution’s efforts to achieve economic diversity by the
    percentage of students receiving federal Pell grants.  In Minnesota, St.
    Catherine University has the third highest proportion of students
    receiving Pell grants, 40 percent.

  • Svilt

    Seems to me that my school (Concordia College – Moorhead) was a bad deal.

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