January 7, 2021

Union College Ranks High in Social Mobility, Diversity

Ryan Teller, for Mid-America Union Conference Outlook

Union College, a Seventh-day Adventist school in Lincoln, Nebraska, United States, has once again been ranked among America’s best colleges and universities by U.S. News and World Report. This year, Union also rated highly in the publication’s lists for best value, social mobility, and diversity.

The 2021 rankings mark the first time institutions in Union’s category of Midwest regional colleges have been listed by social mobility, with Union College coming in at number 20. Based on the percentage of low-income students who graduate on time from an institution, this score is meant to serve as shorthand for which colleges do the best job of improving their graduates’ economic status.

“It’s gratifying to see Union recognized for something so close to our hearts,” Vinita Sauder, Union College president, said. “I believe our focus on services like life coaching and personal tutoring helps to level the playing field for first-generation students who don’t have family members to turn to when they have basic questions about academics and college life.”

This is the third year the publication has included a list of “Best Value Schools,” and the third year Union has ranked highly on that metric (25th in its category). Only top-tier schools are included in the list, and the score is based on a comparison of the school’s overall ranking with its average cost of attendance. The better the quality of the education and the lower the tuition, the higher the rank.

“Where U.S. News sees ‘value,’ I see all the behind-the-scenes sacrifices and small miracles working together to keep a world-class education accessible to students from many economic backgrounds,” Sauder said. “I will never be able to say ‘Thank you!’ enough to Union’s dedicated alumni, employees, and other supporters.”

Consistently High Ranking

In the overall rankings, Union landed at number 38 out of nearly 100 in its category this year. The college’s score reflects its commitment to student success. Many of the measurements in which the college excels relate to the personal attention given to each student, such as small class sizes and a low student-teacher ratio.

Though diversity is not a factor included in the overall rankings, U.S. News lists Union College as the second most diverse school in the category of Midwestern regional colleges, and the college is in the top 10 most diverse schools in the Midwest out of all categories. That means Union College students are far more likely to interact with and form friendships outside of their racial/ethnic group than almost anywhere else in the region. Of the handful of Midwestern universities that scored higher than Union, most are located in the Chicago metropolitan area.

“The key to Union’s diversity is the friendly and welcoming environment prospective students experience when they visit the campus,” Michelle Velazquez-Mesnard, vice president for Enrollment and Student Financial Services, said. “Success often hinges on how well you work in a diverse team, and Union does prepare students to reach across differences, pulling together to achieve the callings God has given them.”

The original version of this story was posted by the Mid-America Union Conference Outlook.