Tuesday, September 9, 2014

In its annual publication of “Best Colleges,” U.S. News & World Report announced this week that Northeastern Illinois University is one of the most ethnically diverse universities in the nation and its students graduate with the least debt among Midwest regional universities.

Northeastern, which this year shares the top spot among Midwest regional universities for ethnic diversity, has been on the list since 1997, the first year U.S. News & World Report established this category in its “Best Colleges” rankings.

The data for the diversity rankings were drawn from each institution’s 2013-14 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. More than 50 languages are spoken as a first language by Northeastern students.

The largest minority group of students at Northeastern is Latino, and the school is the only four-year public university in the Midwest federally designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution. The 2013 entering freshman class was 51 percent Hispanic.

Sharon Hahs, president of Northeastern Illinois University, said, “The diversity of our community transcends not only what we do, but how we do it. We welcome, accept, respect and embrace our differences because we value learning from others. We support divergent perspectives and expect our community to voice differing views of history, politics and world events—that is how we add value to our educational experiences and grow as individuals.”

The data for the debt rankings were drawn from each institution’s 2013 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. Only 18 percent of Northeastern’s 2013 graduating class incurred debt, and those students borrowed an average of $13,213. The University’s percentage of students incurring debt is the lowest among all regional universities in the country, and the amount of debt they incurred is the lowest in the Midwest.

About Northeastern Illinois University

Northeastern Illinois University is a fully accredited public university serving 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 number one in Illinois. The University also is recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the most diverse universities in the United States and is federally designated as a Hispanic Serving Institution.