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College Factual: Seattle University Ranks in Top 3 Percent Nationally for Diversity

January 29, 2021

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Seattle University is in the top 3 percent of the nation’s most diverse universities and is the second most diverse university in Washington, according to the latest rankings from College Factual. Several academic programs also were highly ranked in its 2021 report.

The university ranked #101 of 3,514 schools in the U.S. and is #2 of 67 Washington colleges for its diverse student body as measured by College Factual.

“Seattle U could not have earned this ranking without excellent diversity in student race/ethnicity, ages, genders and geographic location,” College Factual notes in a news release.

According to its data, 41.7 percent of the undergraduate student body is made up of racial-ethnic minorities. The student body is 60.9 percent women, according to data reported to the U.S. Department of Education.

College Factual says it calculated the racial-ethnic minorities count by taking the total number of students and subtracting white students, international students, and students whose race/ethnicity was unknown. This number is then divided by the total number of students at the school to obtain the racial-ethnic minorities percentage. The full methodology is available here.

“Seattle University is committed to inclusive excellence and greatly values the diversity of our community,” says Provost Shane P. Martin. “This ranking is a recognition of the dedication of our faculty and staff to the success of our diverse student body.” 

“As a Jesuit institution dedicated to whole-person education, we believe there is no dichotomy between academic excellence and diversity, equity and inclusion,” says Natasha Martin, vice president for diversity and inclusion. “We are stronger precisely because of the varied backgrounds and experiences represented by the diversity of our student body.”

She continues, “These rankings are important for what they not only reflect about our institution today, but also affirm our commitment to becoming an even more diverse and equitable institution in the future. We have committed to building a university that more closely mirrors the world our current and future students will impact, including growing our historically underrepresented student population as an indispensable component of how we define educational excellence.”

College Factual’s 2021 rankings also include Seattle University’s rankings in the Top 5, 10 and 15 percent in many academic programs and in other overall rankings. In the latter, Seattle University was ranked in the Top 10 percent in ethnic diversity and location diversity and in the Top 15 percent of schools in the country overall.

Average class size, with a student to faculty ratio of 11:1, is lower than the national average of 15:1. The percent of full-time faculty, at 70 percent, far exceeds the national average of 47 percent, according to College Factual’s data. Freshmen retention rate is 84 percent compared to the national average of 68 percent and the four-year graduation rate for first-time students is 64 percent—the national average is just 33.3 percent.

Seattle University’s full rankings summary is available here.

Here are how the university’s academic programs were ranked:

Business, Management and Marketing

  • Top 10 percent overall.
  • Top 10 percent in Business Administration & Management and in “most focused” Finance and Financial Management.
  • Top 15 percent in most popular overall program, highest-paid graduates, top-ranked Accounting program and “most focused” Marketing program.

Computer and Information Sciences

  • Top 10 percent for highest-paid graduates.

Foreign Languages and Linguistics

  • Top 15 percent for most focused and most popular programs in the Romance Languages.

Health Professions

  • Top 5 percent for highest-paid graduates in the Allied Health Professions
  • Top 10 percent of Nursing programs
  • Top 15 percent overall for highest-paid graduates

Homeland Security, Law Enforcement and Firefighting

  • Top 5 percent of Criminal Justice and Corrections programs.
  • Top 10 percent of all programs in the category.


  • Top 15 percent of programs.
  • Top 15 percent overall.

International Quality

  • Top 15 percent overall.