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NORMAL — Illinois State University dropped in the latest Best Colleges rankings by U.S. News and World Report, but remains in the top 100 among best public national universities.

Illinois Wesleyan University's ranking was relatively unchanged in the ranking of national liberal arts universities.

ISU was 91st among public national universities and number 171 overall, which includes both public and private institutions. That compares to 83rd and 159th, respectively, last year.

IWU dropped one spot from a year ago, ranking number 72 this year.  

National universities offer a range of bachelors, master's and doctoral degrees and emphasize research. National liberal arts colleges focus on undergraduate education and award at least half their degrees in liberal arts fields.

“Illinois State University remains strong and stable, and the numbers show that people are aware of the excellent education we continue to provide,” said Illinois State University President Larry Dietz. “These rankings are another reminder that Illinois State is a leader in public education.”

ISU spokesman Eric Jome said the university was not concerned by the slight dip in the ranking.

“We know that the numbers on these rankings are bound to fluctuate from one year to the next,” said Jome. “Illinois State has consistently been in a good position in these national rankings.”

IWU President Eric Jensen said, “We are pleased that these and other rankings affirm the positive experiences of Illinois Wesleyan students, who enjoy close interaction with faculty, as is demonstrated by our small class sizes and student-to-faculty ratio.”

More than 71 percent of classes at IWU have fewer than 20 students and the student-to-faculty is 10 to 1, U.S. News reported.

“As a nationally ranked college, we enroll top students, who value the personal attention we provide. Their satisfaction and success are evident in our excellent retention and graduation rates,” said Jensen.

Bradley University in Peoria was ranked 6th among regional universities in the Midwest. Millikin University in Decatur was 9th and Eastern Illinois University was 38th in that category.

Eureka College tied for 33rd among Regional Colleges in the Midwest, down from 26th last year.

The University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana was the top-ranked national public university in Illinois, ranking 13th in that category. Among both public and private national universities, UIUC ranked 46th.

Princeton University in Princeton, N.J., was the top-ranked national university.

The magazine's rankings are based on factors such as student retention, student-to-faculty ratio, financial resources, alumni giving and graduation rates as well as assessment scores from high school counselors, college and university presidents, provosts and deans of admissions.

This year's rankings place greater emphasis on student outcomes, making such indicators as graduation and retention rates worth 35 percent, rather than 30 percent, of the score. This year's formula also eliminated acceptance rates from consideration and lowered the weight given to opinions in the assessment scores.

Contact Lenore Sobota at (309) 820-3240. Follow her on Twitter: @Pg_Sobota

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Education Reporter

Education Reporter for The Pantagraph.

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