Saint Leo University was named as one of the best regional universities in the South today (September 13) in the 2022 U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges rankings. In addition, Saint Leo was named to the Top Performers on Social Mobility list.

The latest edition of U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges assessed 1,466 U.S. bachelor's degree-granting institutions on 17 measures of academic quality. Only regionally accredited institutions that enrolled first-year (freshmen) students to four-year bachelor's degree programs are considered for the honors.

Among regional universities in the South, Saint Leo ranked 29th overall and 39th for social mobility.


The Top Performers on Social Mobility ranking measures the extent schools enrolled and graduated students who received federal Pell Grants (those typically coming from households whose family incomes are less than $50,000 annually, though most Pell Grant money goes to students with a total family income below $20,000).

"I am extremely proud that Saint Leo University is being recognized as one of the best universities in the South and for helping students from all backgrounds graduate and earn a college degree," said Dr. Jeffrey D. Senese, university president. "The social mobility ranking is an example of how Saint Leo assists students from lower income and middle-class families in achieving their dreams.

"We remain true to our mission of making higher education and earning a private university degree accessible to all students," Senese continued. "We do that by offering great financial aid packages including the Tuition Advantage Program for Florida students, the D2R [Dare to Roar] Associate Degree Program, and other financial aid packages. And, thanks to our generous donors, students qualify for many scholarship opportunities."

Saint Leo is included in the regional universities category. Of the 596 regional universities, 245 are public, 341 are private—including Saint Leo—and 10 are for-profit, according to U.S. News. Those schools included in the regional universities category offer a full range of undergraduate programs and offer graduate programs at the master's level, according to U.S. News; although, they offer few if any doctoral programs. Saint Leo offers four doctoral degrees, including the Doctor of Business Administration, Doctor of Criminal Justice-Education, Doctor of Criminal Justice-Homeland Security, and Doctor of Education-School Leadership.

One of the reasons Saint Leo University continues to be a top university in the South is that it focuses on the needs of communities and employers, providing graduates who are ready to work and make a difference.

"At Saint Leo, we emphasize 'real world' experience," Senese said. "Faculty members not only are academics, but they also have work experience in their fields of study. We want our graduates to have the best start, so we emphasize experiential learning. We help our students with field placement and internships in their majors, helping them explore their field and network with potential employers. Not only is this good for our students, but it also is good for employers and for the communities we serve."

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