Colleges in The Midwest: List of Major Midwest Universities

The Midwest region of the United States is home to nearly 1,000 public and private non-profit schools. Compare four of the universities in the Midwest to determine which schools might be right for you.

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School Ranking Overview

Students wanting to earn a degree in the Midwest region of the country have plenty of options; there are currently 968 public and private non-profit institutions offering programs throughout the ten states that make up the region. This article compares four of the largest public universities in an effort to help students find a school that fits their needs. The top three are ranked in these categories:

  • Program Variety
  • Net Price
  • Graduation Rate
  • Student-to-Faculty Ratio

Program Variety

Students who are unsure about their future career plans could benefit from attending a college or university with a large program count. Institutions with many programs are more likely to offer a wide range of majors as well as specializations within broader fields of study. The following universities have the most academic programs among those compared.

1. Michigan State University

Located in East Lansing, Michigan State University (MSU) offers 322 programs that culminate in certificates, bachelor's degrees, master's degrees and doctorates. A few of the many fields of study available to students include marketing, finance, genetics, agriculture, health communication, teacher education, engineering, medicine, and music. The university also offers multiple programs related to the veterinary field, including pre-vet studies, veterinary technology, veterinary medicine, and large animal medicine.

2. University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

The University of Minnesota - Twin Cities (U of M) claims the second spot within the top three for its 283 undergraduate and graduate programs. Students at the Minneapolis-based school can study subjects such as architecture, biochemistry, special education, literature, engineering, dentistry, medicine, law, physical therapy, forestry, criminology, and art. U of M awards certificates as well as degrees at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels.

3. Ohio State University

The main campus of Ohio State University is located in Columbus, and it happens to be the largest institution among the four compared schools. Ohio State offers 206 programs, which give students the opportunity to earn bachelor's degrees, graduate certificates, master's degrees and doctorates. Areas of study include dentistry, history, medicine, veterinary medicine, law, journalism, international business, accounting, neuroscience, social work, and interior design, among others.

Net Price

Many aspiring students are concerned with the financial impact of earning a college education. Comparing net prices can help them narrow down school options and find institutions that fit their budgets. Net prices are based on the total cost of attendance for full-time students attending school for the first time -- a figure that includes in-state undergrad tuition rates, fees, textbooks and other educational expenses -- minus an average amount of financial aid. Based on this information, the universities below had the lowest net prices of the four, according to 2012-2013 data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

1. Indiana University - Bloomington

The flagship campus of the Indiana University (IU) system, Indiana University in Bloomington had the lowest net price of the group; undergrads paid an average of $11,361 for the academic year. IU Bloomington offers certificates as well as degrees from the associate's to doctoral levels.

2. Michigan State University

MSU's average net price was the second lowest. Students enrolled in undergraduate programs paid around $14,526.

3. University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

U of M finishes out this category with its average net price of $15,531. According to the NCES, 77% of full-time undergraduate students in the 2012-2013 year received some sort of financial aid at this institution.

Graduation Rate

Of the profiled universities, the three that follow have the highest graduation rates (NCES). These figures are based on full-time students who enrolled in undergraduate programs in fall 2007 and graduated within 150% of normal time, which is six years for a bachelor's degree. Schools with higher graduation rates may offer a more effective, high-quality education to their students.

1. Ohio State University

Ohio State's graduation rate of 83% is the highest of the profiled universities. The school also has the highest rate of student retention among the group. Of those that pursued bachelor's degrees on a full-time basis in fall 2012, 92% chose to continue their studies at Ohio State the next fall (NCES).

2. Michigan State University

With an overall graduation rate of 77%, MSU take the number two position in this category. According to the NCES, 91% of students enrolled in full-time bachelor's degree programs in fall 2012 remained at the institution a year later.

3. Indiana University - Bloomington

IU Bloomington has a lower student population than MSU, so despite both schools having a 77% graduation rate, the former falls to the last spot among the top three. IU's fall 2012 to fall 2013 retention rates for full-time bachelor's-level students was 90% (NCES).

Student-to-Faculty Ratio

The lower a school's student-to-faculty ratio, the more likely the institution is able to provide more personalized attention in the classroom and one-on-one interaction with professors. According to NCES data for the 2013 year, the universities listed below are in the top three when it comes to the lowest student-to-faculty ratios.

1. University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

This university had 17 students for every one faculty member. The university's faculty included 4,830 full-time and 1,426 part-time members who instructed students or worked in research positions, according to 2013 data from the NCES.

2. Michigan State University

MSU's ratio stands at 17:1 as well, but it misses out on the top spot due to its smaller student population. In 2013, there were 3,564 full-time and 510 adjunct faculty members working in either instructional or research positions at MSU (NCES).

3. Indiana University - Bloomington

Ranking third is IU Bloomington with an 18:1 student-to-faculty ratio. The institution employed a total of 2,864 faculty members in 2013, according to the NCES. Roughly 83% of these professionals worked in instructional positions, and most were employed full-time.

Midwest Schools: At a Glance

School Name Location School Type Programs Offered Area Ranking
Indiana University - Bloomington Bloomington, IN 4-year, Public Undergraduate and graduate certificates; associate's, bachelor's, master's, doctoral degrees #1 in Net Price,
#3 in Graduation Rate,
#3 in Student-to-Faculty Ratio
Michigan State University East Lansing, MI 4-year, Public Undergraduate and graduate certificates; bachelor's, master's, doctoral degrees #1 in Program Variety,
#2 in Net Price,
#2 in Graduation Rate,
#2 in Student-to-Faculty Ratio
Ohio State University Columbus, OH 4-year, Public Graduate certificates; bachelor's, master's, doctoral degrees #3 in Program Variety,
#1 in Graduation Rate
University of Minnesota - Twin Cities Minneapolis, MN 4-year, Public Undergraduate and graduate certificates; bachelor's, master's, doctoral degrees #2 in Program Variety,
#3 in Net Price,
#1 in Student-to-Faculty Ratio
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