The Old Iowa State Capitol in Iowa City. (Courtesy of PBS of Iowa)
IOWA CITY — For the first time since its launch in fall 2019, the University of Iowa’s new online Master of Business Administration degree has made it into the U.S. News & World Report ranking of “Best Business Administration Programs.” Online MBA”.
Tied at No. 78, UI’s online MBA program was among more than 350 considered and among 326 that US News ended up ranking as part of its 2022″ranking of the best online programsmade public on Tuesday.
In total, the 2022 edition evaluated 1,733 online bachelor’s and master’s programs – including the best online bachelor’s programs; the best online MBA programs; and the best online master’s programs in education, nursing, engineering, and computer science.
Since UI only started offering its online MBA program in the fall of 2019, this was its first year on the rankings – which assessed data from July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021.
US News previously ranked online master’s programs in UI in Education and Nursing, which saw modest changes this year. The UI online education program rose from No. 27 in 2021 to No. 24 this year. Its nursing program dropped slightly from No. 80 to No. 82.
The pandemic has made online education increasingly relevant, according to Liana Loewus, editor of US News Education.
“The uncertainty caused by the pandemic may cause more people to consider the merits of an online education,” Loewus said in a statement.
But as COVID has increased the popularity of all types of online education and degree offerings, US News — in its 10th year of ranking online programs — is careful to note that only “primarily degree programs online, from start to finish, are included in the ranking. ”
“Degree programs delivered temporarily online are not eligible,” according to US News.
Some of these temporarily online programs — which swept across nearly every campus in America as COVID spread in 2020 — wouldn’t do well in the US News rankings anyway, which awards “long-term investments in designing and scaling their student services, technologies, programs, and instructor training for distance learners.
Ranking programs, not schools
The report also clarifies that the rankings are program-specific, not school-specific — which US News ranks annually in the fall, nationally and globally. Nationally, UI moved up the 2022 rankings from #88 to #83.
The University of Northern Iowa also improved its Midwest regional ranking from No. 24 to No. 19, while Iowa State University dropped in the national ranking from No. 118 to No. 122.
Although Iowa State got rankings last year for its online Masters of Education program and online Masters of Computer Information Technology program, it did not rank this year. , according to the 2022 report.
UNI’s only online ranking for its distance education master’s program has fallen from 72nd last year to 53rd.
Although administrators at Iowa’s public universities have said they don’t bow to rankings, they do pay attention to them as measures of progress and as legitimate tools prospective students use to purchase residence halls.
The US News placement methodology varies by program. Online MBAs, for example – considered “by far the most popular business graduate program” – used five categories for the 2022 edition.
They included engagement, namely opportunities to interact with instructors and classmates; expert opinion via a survey of “high-level academic leaders in MBA programs”; degrees and faculty training; student excellence; and student services and technology.
The popularity of the MBA program is skyrocketing
Although the UI online MBA program started just two falls ago, its popularity has skyrocketed – catapulted by the pandemic. Administrators who introduced the program in fall 2018 aimed to enroll 40 students three times a year, and by early spring 2020 — just months after its launch — it had 83 students.
Once the pandemic hit, enrollment skyrocketed to nearly 500 in the summer of 2021. Combined with the Professional User Interface MBA program, 1,388 students are now enrolled in the “Iowa MBA,” following online, in-person or a mix of both.
“We’ve seen record numbers since then, and it really hasn’t slowed down,” said Ali Yildirim, executive director of marketing and recruitment for UI Tippie College of Business, noting that enrollment has soared to around 120 students. three times a year. year.
The top online MBA programs in the country include Indiana University in Bloomington and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, both peer-assigned by Unemployment Insurance Regents.
The best online bachelor’s degree programs in the country are offered by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, University of Florida, Medical University of South Carolina, and University of Illinois-Chicago.
The best online education programs are offered by Clemson University and the Universities of Florida, Georgia, and Illinois-Urbana-Champaign.
Vanessa Miller covers higher education for The Gazette.
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