St. Francis College Takes Top Spots in U.S. News & World Report's Latest College Rankings

Leah Schmerl
U.S. News Best Colleges


St. Francis College has earned top spots on U.S. News & World Report's annual college rankings, a testament to its persistent academic excellence and deep commitment to diversity.

In its study released today, U.S. News ranked SFC 15th out of 57 institutions in the category of Northern Regional Colleges, based on its performance on 17 indicators of academic quality as compared to other colleges in its geographic area with similar academic missions.

The College also placed number four on U.S. News' list of Top Performers on Social Mobility among northern regional colleges, demonstrating its success in enrolling and graduating large proportions of economically disadvantaged students.

"This latest ranking once again proves that SFC delivers on its promise to remove boundaries to higher education so every student can reach her or his full potential, no matter the background they come from," said Miguel Martinez-Saenz, Ph.D., President of St. Francis College. "I commend our current students and recent graduates who have flourished under challenging circumstances this past year. I also salute our faculty, who continue to demonstrate unwavering dedication to each student who enters their classroom."

Illustrating SFC's prioritization of nurturing a student body from a range of backgrounds, U.S. News calculated that SFC has the second highest Campus Ethnic Diversity Index in its category, a score based on the likelihood that an institution's students will encounter undergraduates from racial or ethnic groups different from their own. With 9% of its student body coming from countries outside the United States, SFC tied for second in its category as having the most international students.

"Celebrating and championing the talents and potential of all people is at the heart of St. Francis College, consistent with our Franciscan values," said Jeanne Arnold, Ed.D., who joined St. Francis College as the institution's first permanent Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer in July 2021. Dr. Arnold also serves as the College's Chief of Staff. "That our student body grows increasingly diverse each year is a point of pride and a signal of our institutional excellence."

Twenty-eight percent of SFC's fall 2020 student body self-identified as Hispanic -- up from 26% the prior fall -- and 24% as Black, up from 22%. The rest include those who self-identify as White (26%), Asian (4%) and Multi-Racial (3%).

St. Francis College has a long history of providing an affordable private education, with 98 percent of its student body receiving institutional aid averaging nearly $13,000 per student.*

The College has accelerated its multi-year effort to increase the amount of flexible, online learning available to students. Last month, it announced that five more of its degree programs and a post-baccalaureate certificate in childhood education can now be completed entirely online. That announcement came on the heels of SFC launching its first fully online degree program – a B.S. in Exercise and Movement Science – last summer.

Methodology:

U.S. News assessed 1,466 U.S. bachelor's degree-granting institutions in this year's study. U.S. News gathers data from and about each school in 17 areas related to academic excellence. Each indicator is assigned a weight (expressed as a percentage) based on U.S. News' researched judgments about which measures of quality matters most.

The study groups schools into 10 different categories based on their academic missions and, in some cases geography. Regional Colleges focus on undergraduate education but grant fewer than 50% of their degrees in liberal arts disciplines. Some regional colleges award two-year associate degrees as well as bachelor's degrees. U.S. News ranks them in four geographical groups: North, South, Midwest and West.

For more about the study categories and methodology, visit U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges.

Social mobility ranking:

This indicator measures how well schools graduated students who received federal Pell Grants. Students receiving these grants typically come from households whose family incomes are less than $50,000 annually, with most money going to students with total family incomes below $20,000. For the third consecutive year, U.S. News published a distinct social mobility ranking for all ranked schools. The social mobility ranking was computed by aggregating the two ranking factors assessing graduation rates of Pell-awarded students.

•Pell Grant graduation rates incorporate six-year graduation rates of Pell Grant students, adjusted to give much more credit to schools with larger Pell student proportions. This is computed as a two-year rolling average.

•Pell Grant graduation rate performance compares each school's six-year graduation rate among Pell recipients with its six-year graduation rate among non-Pell recipients by dividing the former into the latter, then adjusting to give much more credit to schools with larger Pell student proportions. The higher a school's Pell graduation rate relative to its non-Pell graduation rate up to the rates being equal, the better it scores. This, too, is computed as a two-year rolling average.

Ethnic Diversity Index

To identify colleges where students are most likely to encounter undergraduates from racial or ethnic groups different from their own, U.S. News factors in the total proportion of minority students, leaving out international students, and the overall mix of groups. The data is drawn from each institution's fall 2020 total undergraduate student body. The ethnic categories used in the calculations are non-Hispanic African American, Hispanic, American Indian, Pacific Islander/Native Hawaiian, Asian, non-Hispanic white and multiracial (two or more races). Students who did not identify themselves as members of any of those demographic groups were classified as non-Hispanic whites for the purpose of these calculations. The formula produces a diversity index that ranges from 0 to 1. The closer a school's number is to 1, the more diverse the student population.

*Data from 2019-20 academic year