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50 best colleges in the Midwest

Stacker Logo By Isabel Sepulveda of Stacker | Slide 1 of 51: Some of the best Midwestern colleges and universities can thank the Morrill Act of 1862 for their existence. This law gave states 30,000 acres of federal land to establish institutions that offered practical and agricultural educations to a wider public. Today, many of these land-grant colleges have a history of being powerhouse research institutions, boasting developments like the first internet browser and performance of the first successful open-heart surgery. 

After the 2008 recession, many colleges in the Midwest faced problems of disinvestment; higher education is generally an easy target for budget cuts from state governments looking to save money. Some states are making up ground, however; Illinois, for example, recently passed a new budget with significant increases in funding for their many colleges and universities across the state. Many schools across the region are fighting to attract students away from the coasts and into America's heartland, focusing resources on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education as the "Silicon Prairie" develops. Of course, many of the schools on this list also have a rich tradition of college sports, especially football, which contributes to the rah-rah campus culture. 

America’s heartland claims several well-respected institutions of higher education, including famed public research universities and renowned small liberal arts colleges. Using Niche’s 2019 Best Colleges in America list, Stacker sorted out the best 50 schools in the Midwest. Niche’s rankings use data from the U.S. Department of Education on academics, admissions, and student life, along with reviews from current students and alumni. Only colleges located in Midwestern states (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin) were included.

Click through our list to find which colleges made the cut, and if the top spot went to a big name football school, a land-grant, or a bucolic liberal arts campus. 

You may also like: 50 best colleges on the East Coast

50 best colleges in the Midwest

Some of the best Midwestern colleges and universities can thank the Morrill Act of 1862 for their existence. This law gave states 30,000 acres of federal land to establish institutions that offered practical and agricultural educations to a wider public. Today, many of these land-grant colleges have a history of being powerhouse research institutions, boasting developments like the first internet browser and performance of the first successful open-heart surgery. 

After the 2008 recession, many colleges in the Midwest faced problems of disinvestment; higher education is generally an easy target for budget cuts from state governments looking to save money. Some states are making up ground, however; Illinois, for example, recently passed a new budget with significant increases in funding for their many colleges and universities across the state. Many schools across the region are fighting to attract students away from the coasts and into America's heartland, focusing resources on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education as the "Silicon Prairie" develops. Of course, many of the schools on this list also have a rich tradition of college sports, especially football, which contributes to the rah-rah campus culture. 

America’s heartland claims several well-respected institutions of higher education, including famed public research universities and renowned small liberal arts colleges. Using Niche’s 2019 Best Colleges in America list, Stacker sorted out the best 50 schools in the Midwest. Niche’s rankings use data from the U.S. Department of Education on academics, admissions, and student life, along with reviews from current students and alumni. Only colleges located in Midwestern states (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin) were included.

Click through our list to find which colleges made the cut, and if the top spot went to a big name football school, a land-grant, or a bucolic liberal arts campus. 

You may also like: 50 best colleges on the East Coast

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