By TYLER ELLYSON
KEARNEY – The University of Nebraska at Kearney remains one of the top public universities in the Midwest, according to U.S. News and World Report.
The publication released its annual “Best Colleges” lists today, and UNK is ranked No. 6 among public regional universities in the Midwest. This is the 14th straight year UNK has been recognized as one of the best public regional universities in the Midwest and the sixth time the school has been ranked inside the top 10.
UNK was also sixth in 2020 – its highest ranking ever. No other Nebraska school cracked the top 20 on this year’s list, and UNK has the highest ranking among MIAA members.
“It’s gratifying for our faculty, staff, students, alumni and community year after year to have this validation of our quality. We know the value of the UNK experience, and others are noticing, too,” said Kelly Bartling, vice chancellor for enrollment management and marketing.
UNK is ranked 34th among all Midwest regional universities – both public and private – ahead of schools such as Concordia University, Morningside University, College of Saint Mary, University of Central Missouri, Emporia State University, University of Sioux Falls, Pittsburg State University, Wayne State College, Northwest Missouri State University, Fort Hays State University, Mount Marty University, Newman University, Bellevue University, Black Hills State University, Chadron State College, Midland University, Missouri Western State University and Peru State College.
“This continued recognition relative to our peers, along with our growing enrollment throughout Nebraska and the nation, signals that UNK is increasing in significance as a regional university, with impact throughout the Midwest and beyond,” Bartling said.
UNK also made U.S. News and World Report’s list of “Best Value Schools,” ranking No. 8 among Midwest regional universities. That list looks at a school’s academic quality, cost of attendance and the percentage of students receiving need-based financial aid.
UNK is the most affordable Nebraska university, and nearly 90% of all freshmen received scholarships and/or grants in 2019-20. The average need-based award was $9,823.
The 2021-22 academic year kicks off a two-year, across-the-board tuition freeze at the NU system, and the university is continuing its Nebraska Promise financial aid program, guaranteeing full tuition coverage for Nebraska students whose families earn $60,000 or less.
Additionally, out-of-state students attending UNK benefit from the New Nebraskan Scholarship, which discounts tuition to the in-state rate.
U.S. News and World Report has UNK ranked No. 37 for social mobility among Midwest regional universities, recognizing the financial assistance and support services it provides for economically disadvantaged students.
In the “Best Colleges for Veterans” category, UNK is ranked 15th among Midwest regional universities, up nine spots from 2020. UNK supports veterans, active service members and other military-connected students through its Military and Veterans Services office.
The university is opening a new Military and Veterans Student Center this fall inside West Center. The Military and Veterans Student Center will serve as a space where military-connected students can relax, study and network. It will also be a hub for Military and Veterans Services, with staff available to assist with federal programs, campus resources and career services. The University of Nebraska Medical Center is a partner on the project, which will promote opportunities for military students to pursue nursing careers.
“It’s important for UNK to address the needs of our military-connected students, including partners and children of veterans who are eligible for benefits. This is a unique student population with needs that often are best met by people who understand the military because they have lived the military life,” Bartling said.
In its 37th year, the U.S. News and World Report rankings evaluate more than 1,400 colleges and universities on up to 17 measures of academic quality. These measures include graduation and retention rates, social mobility, graduate indebtedness, class sizes, faculty and financial resources, student excellence and alumni support. Twenty percent of a school’s ranking is based on expert opinion, determined by an assessment from top academic administrators at peer institutions.