Diversity in this ranking is based on criteria including the percentage of Pell Grant recipients (awarded to students from low-income backgrounds), the racial and ethnic diversity represented in students and staff, and the percentage of students coming from outside the United States.
“Topping this year’s list is La Sierra University, a Seventh-day Adventist school in Riverside, Calif., with about 1,700 undergraduate students,” said the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) in the September 17 article.
The newspaper said half of La Sierra undergraduates receive Pell Grants, 48% are Hispanic, 17% are Asian, 12% are white, 7% are Black and 12.2% come from overseas, adding that “percentages don’t add to 100 because there are other categories in the U.S. Education Department data, including students of more than one race.”
“When these students leave us, they go into their communities understanding that the dominant perspective wherever they happen to be is not necessarily the only perspective,” said La Sierra President Joy Fehr to the WSJ.
The newspaper pointed out that La Sierra “didn’t crack the top 400 on outcomes, which measures things like graduation rates, earnings and student debt levels.”
The WSJ cited Education Department data saying La Sierra had a 50% six-year graduation rate for full-time students.
The article also said La Sierra received a grant to increase graduation rates for students in STEM programs.