Saint Leo University was ranked as one of the best regional universities and best values in higher education in the South in 2020 U.S. News & World Report's Best Colleges rankings, which was released September 9.
Among regional universities in the South, Saint Leo ranked 25th, up from its 47th place ranking last year. Saint Leo made another impressive jump, moving up to fifth place from 14th last year among Best Value Schools in the South.
The university also bested last year's ranking and was named a Best for Veterans School among southern regional universities and tied for No. 14 with Christian Brothers University (TN). Last year's rank was 31st.
Saint Leo's diversity was noted by U.S. News & World Report's Best Colleges, as the university ranked fourth for international students and seventh for campus ethnic diversity among regional universities in the South.
In a new category this year, Saint Leo was named to the Top Performers on Social Mobility in Southern Regional Universities list, tying for No. 10 with Columbia College (SC).
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.
"Having our university recognized as one of the best in the South and one of the best values in the South reflects our commitment to fostering a student-centered community and providing an outstanding private-university education that is affordable," said Dr. Jeffrey D. Senese, university president. "We are proud of our students and of our world-class faculty and staff who provide those students with an excellent educational experience. We are extremely proud of our outreach to students of all races, cultures, religions, and creeds. And we remain committed to our military and student-veterans."
The U.S. News Best Colleges rankings, now in their 35th year, help students who plan to pursue a bachelor's degree, select a university. This year's rankings considered several factors including: graduation and retention rates; social mobility; faculty resources, which takes into account class size and faculty salary; peer assessment by other universities; financial resources; student excellence, which includes performance on standardized tests and high school class standing; and alumni giving.
The social mobility category, in which Saint Leo was named as one of the top performers among regional universities in the South, measures how well schools 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).
With its fourth place ranking for ethnic diversity, Saint Leo officials hope college-bound students who believe studying with people of different racial and ethnic backgrounds is important will want to consider the university when selecting a school.
Schools named as Best for Veterans participate in federal initiatives helping veterans and active-duty servicemembers pay for their degrees. The university has a proud history of educating veterans and military students.
"We are gratified to receive national recognition for our university, its programs, and our efforts to attract excellent students," said Senese, the Saint Leo president.
For information on 2020 Best Colleges, go to https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges.
SAINT LEO BY THE NUMBERS
Best Regional University in South: Ranked No. 25; last year's rank was No. 47
Best Value Schools in South: Ranked No. 5; last year's rank was No. 14
Best Colleges for Veterans – Regional Universities – South: Ranked No. 14; last year's rank was No. 31
Campus Ethnic Diversity – Regional Universities – South: Ranked No. 7
Most International Students – Regional Universities – South: No. 4
Top Performers on Social Mobility – Regional Universities – South: Ranked No. 10