NU is top school for its work with Pell-eligible students
Niagara University leaped 11 spots on U.S. News & World Report’s annual survey of “America’s Best Colleges.” Niagara secured the No. 32 position in “Best Regional Universities – North.” This position is a dramatic climb from No. 70, which was the university’s standing in 2013.
In addition to the overall ranking, Niagara is the highest-ranking independent school from the Buffalo-Niagara Region on the list in a new category of “Social Mobility,” which measures the graduation success of Pell Grant recipients and is based on Pell graduation rates. NU is also recognized by U.S. News as a “Best Value,” “A+ Schools for B Students,” “Foreign Student Factor,” and “Best Colleges for Veterans.”
“We are pleased that the excellent quality of Niagara University’s academic programs and our commitment to affordability and accessibility continue to be praised by U.S. News & World Report and other ranking publications,” said the Rev. James J. Maher, C.M., NU president. “More importantly, and regardless of the rankings, we look closely at the key performance indicators outlined in our strategic plan, which will enable us to move toward the highest standards of excellence in student engagement and services.”
NU’s commitment to academic excellence and student outcomes, which is driven by its strategic plan, has led to its jump in the U.S. News rankings. The university’s six-year graduation rate improved 6 percentage points over the past four years and, at 72.7%, is the highest among independent colleges and universities in the region. It is also among the top 25% of colleges and universities nationwide. The university has continued to increase the number of classes with 20 or fewer students and improve the average freshman-to-sophomore retention rate and the academic quality of the incoming freshman class.
•Social Mobility – This is a new ranking that measures the graduation success of Pell Grant recipients and is based on Pell graduation rates, the proportion of students who receive Pell, and the comparison to graduation rates of non-Pell recipients. NU was the highest-ranking independent school from the region on the list.
•Best Value – NU is also once again among the best regional institutions deemed a “Best Value,” a calculation that takes into account a school’s academic quality and the net cost of attendance for a student who receives the average level of need-based financial aid. NU is ranked 7 out of the 75 schools listed in the category, which is especially remarkable in light of the fact NU’s undergraduate students studying in Canada (BPS program) negatively impact the university’s ranking in this section.
•A+ Schools for B Students – NU is once again listed among the schools noted as “A+ Schools for B Students,” which highlights schools that admit a good proportion of “non-A” students (based on SAT/ACT scores and class standing) and allow them to thrive at the university level.
•Best Foreign Student Factor – NU is the only institution in the region in the ranking group for “Best Foreign Student Factor.”
•Best Colleges for Veterans – NU is once again listed as a “Best College for Veterans,” which recognizes institutions that participate in federal initiatives helping veterans and active-duty service members pay for their degrees. NU has also been recognized by Victory Media (as one of the country’s top 10 small private schools for American military veterans and their families) and College Choice (“50 Best Colleges for Veterans”) for its work with veteran students.