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Eastern Illinois, UIC move up in college rankings

Updated: September 10, 2013 2:43PM

A new way of calculating college rankings boosted Eastern Illinois University and the University of Illinois at Chicago’s rankings in the 2014 list of U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Colleges” being released Tuesday.

Eastern Illinois tied with the University of Michigan at Dearborn for No. 36, up 18 notches from No. 54 last year, and UIC tied with six other schools for a No. 128 ranking, up 19 notches from its four-way tie last year for No. 147. Eastern Illinois is listed among Midwest regional schools, while UIC is listed among national universities.

Robert Morse, director of data research for U.S. News & World Report, said Monday the changes better show how schools educate their students rather than reflecting the student body’s characteristics.

Most other Chicago-area colleges and universities stayed within five points of last year’s standing, including the University of Chicago, which slipped one notch to tie with Stanford for No. 5, down from a tie for No. 4 last year; Northwestern University held at No. 12, tied with Johns Hopkins; the University of Notre Dame slipped one notch to No. 18; Illinois State University jumped four notches to 152 and Southern Illinois landed in a four-way tie at No. 177, up from last year’s 179. Also tied at No. 177 was Northern Illinois University, up 12 notches.

Among regional universities, Valparaiso in Northwest Indiana ranked No. 6, down two notches from last year; Elmhurst College held at No. 11 and North Central College stayed at No. 13; Dominican University tied North Central at No. 13, up from No. 16 last year; the University of Illinois at Springfield ranked No. 28, down six notches; Southern Illinois Edwardsville and St. Xavier in Chicago tied at No. 42, up five notches from their tie at No. 47 last year, and Olivet Nazarene stood at No. 52, up from 58 last year.

In a separate report being released Tuesday, St. Xavier and Loyola University reported the largest debt loads for their Classes of 2012, according to the U.S. News & World Report data. At Loyola, 72 percent of the graduates had debt averaging $36,328, while St. Xavier’s Class of 2012 had an average of $41,632 in debt among 77 percent of the students, up from an average of $40,306 among 74 percent of the students in the Class of 2011. A St. Xavier spokesperson said the recession hurt the school’s large numbers of needy students, and 94 percent of its undergraduates and 50 percent of the graduate students received scholarships nonetheless.


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