From left to right, a male and two female graduates holding diplomas and smiling

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

In its annual publication of “Best Colleges,” U.S. News & World Report announced on Sept. 13 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 third 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 48 percent of Northeastern’s 2015 graduating class incurred debt, and those students borrowed an average of $15,713.

“Our students have always known that getting a degree at Northeastern means getting the best of both worlds: a high-quality, academically rigorous college experience and a head start in the real world that is free of many of the overwhelming financial burdens faced by those at other universities,” Northeastern President Sharon Hahs said. “We are known for our academic excellence, our diverse community and our ability to keep rising college costs in check, so we are pleased that this national publication has again recognized these accomplishments.”

The data for the debt rankings were drawn from each institution’s 2015 graduating class. According to U.S. News & World Report, the data include loans taken out by students from the colleges themselves, from private financial institutions, and from federal, state and local governments. Parents’ loans are not included.

This week’s U.S. News & World Report ranking comes about a month after a report by LendEDU found that Northeastern students graduate with the ninth-lowest student loan debt nationally among public four-year colleges and universities. Among all four-year colleges and universities, Northeastern ranks 28th.

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 2015-16 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.

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.

“The diversity of our community transcends not only what we do, but how we do it,” Hahs said. “We welcome, accept, respect and embrace our differences because we value learning from others.”

Northeastern Illinois University is a fully accredited public university serving approximately 10,000 full- and part-time undergraduate and graduate students in the Chicago metropolitan area. Northeastern engages its diverse university community in a rich environment of learning, teaching and scholarship.

The University offers more than 80 academic programs in the arts, sciences, education and business. In 2012 Newsweek magazine named Northeastern Illinois University the sixth-best investment among all universities in the nation and No. 1 in Illinois.