UI beats top universities for second spot in writing in national college rankings

U.S. News and World Report’s newest rankings, released Sunday night, showed that the UI remained the 83rd ranked university among all public and private institutions but slipped to 35th among public institutions.


Ayrton Breckenridge

The Old Capitol dome is seen on Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2022.

Kate Perez, News Editor

The University of Iowa ranked second overall in writing among all U.S. universities in U.S. News and World Report rankings, according to the 2022 list published Sunday night.

The UI tied with Yale University for the second spot in the writing in the disciplines program and is the only public university in the top ten. The ranking is a significant jump from the university’s previous ranking of 10th overall in 2021.

“If you look at what most employers want these days, it’s what I call higher-order skills, and those are typically related to communication: how well you work in teams, how clearly you express yourself, and how effectively you use analytical skills in problem-solving situations,” UI President Barbara Wilson said in a press release. “The emphasis on writing and communication at Iowa benefits all students.”

The UI is known as “the writing university” and has multiple well-known programs like the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and Nonfiction Writing Program. Iowa City is also a UNESCO City of Literature.

“This ranking reflects the breadth of our commitment to writing excellence at Iowa,” Kevin Kregel, UI executive vice president and provost, said in a press release. “The world knows us for our unparalleled writing programs, but we are just as proud of the writing-related resources we provide to all students, whatever their field of study. Employers care about writing and communication skills, and they know graduates from Iowa bring those skills to their organizations.”

While the UI improved its rank in writing, it slipped from 33rd to 35th in its overall ranking among public institutions. It remained the 83rd school for all public and private schools.

The university improved in multiple areas, including Pell Grad rate, financial resources rate, and student-to-faculty ratio. The UI’s rank dropped its social mobility rank, average alumni giving rate, graduation retention rate, and faculty resources rank.

Some of the UI’s rank remained steady, while some slightly altered:

  • First-year retention rate remained at 87 percent
  • The predicted graduation rate remained at 73 percent
  • The actual graduation rate improved from 72 percent to 74 percent
  • Graduation retention rank changed from 121 to 124, meaning that the number of students who remain all 4 years and graduate decreased
  • The percentage of classes with 50 or more students decreased from 14 to 13 percent
  • The student-to-faculty ratio decreased from 16 to 1 to 15 to 1
  • UI’s financial resources rank increased from 97 to 85
  • The average alumni giving rate dropped from 5 percent to 6 percent
  • The UI dropped from 351 to 372 in its social mobility rank

Multiple UI programs jumped in the 2022 ranking. The undergraduate bachelor’s of nursing ranking moved from 10th to 9th, and the Tippie College of Business moved from 36th to 34th in undergraduate business programs. The accounting program moved from 50th to 35th overall.

Ranked programs at the UI include:

  • Writing: 2nd
  • Nursing: 9th
  • Tippie College of Business: 34th
  • Business analytics: 33rd
  • Accounting: 35th
  • Undergraduate engineering programs that offer doctoral programs: 68th
  • Undergraduate computer science: 65th