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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Northeastern Illinois University tops U.S. News & World Report rankings for diversity, low student debt

In its annual publication of “Best Colleges,” U.S. News & World Report announced today that Northeastern Illinois University boasts the most diverse student population among Midwest regional universities and graduates its students with the least amount of student debt.

This marks the fourth year in a row that Northeastern has earned the No. 1 spot for students who graduate with the least amount of debt among Midwest regional universities. Only 55 percent of Northeastern’s 2016 graduating class incurred debt, and those students borrowed an average of $16,247.

“Earning a degree from Northeastern means getting a high-quality, academically rigorous college experience and a post-graduation experience that is free of the overwhelming financial burdens faced by many college graduates,” Northeastern Interim President Richard Helldobler said. “We are pleased that U.S. News & World Report has again recognized Northeastern’s accomplishments in serving our diverse community of students with an affordable, high-quality education.”

The data for the debt rankings were drawn from each institution’s 2016 graduating class. According to U.S. News & World Report, the data include loans taken out by students from colleges, from private financial institutions, and from federal, state and local governments. Parents’ loans are not included.

According to a report released in August by LendEDU, Northeastern students graduate with the 15th-lowest student loan debt nationally among public four-year colleges and universities and the lowest debt among all Illinois institutions. Among all four-year colleges and universities, Northeastern ranks 41st.

Northeastern has been on U.S. News & World Report’s list of most diverse universities since 1997, the first year the publication established the category in its “Best Colleges” rankings. The data for the diversity rankings were drawn from each institution’s 2016-17 enrollment numbers. According to U.S. News & World Report, the rankings factored in the proportion of minority students—excluding international students—and the overall mix of groups in each institution’s student body. The groups forming the basis for the calculations were African-American (non-Hispanic), Hispanic, American Indian, Asian-American, Pacific Islander, White (non-Hispanic) and multiracial.

According to The Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College Ranking released in November 2016, Northeastern is the most diverse university in the Midwest. Nationally, Northeastern ranks 22nd.

Northeastern’s ethnic diversity reflects the urban environment of Chicago. The largest minority group of students at Northeastern is Latino, and the school was the first four-year public university in the Midwest federally designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution.

“We take great pride in the diversity of our community,” Helldobler said. “We are committed to welcoming, accepting, respecting and embracing our differences because we value learning from others.”

Northeastern Illinois University is a fully accredited public university serving full- and part-time undergraduate and graduate students. Northeastern engages its diverse university community in a rich environment of learning, teaching and scholarship. The University offers more than 40 undergraduate degree and certificate programs and more than 50 graduate degree, certificate, licensure and endorsement programs.

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