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Augustana’s Economic Diversity Cited by U.S. News

SIOUX FALLS – According to U.S. News and World Report, Augustana’s mission of providing an education of enduring worth is available to students from varying economic backgrounds.

The magazine states economic diversity has received growing attention in higher education, particularly at elite schools that haven’t traditionally enrolled large numbers of low-income students or students from low-income families.

U.S. News’ “Economic Diversity Among Top-Ranked Schools: Baccalaureate Colleges (Midwest)” shows the percentage of undergraduates receiving Federal Pell Grants for low-income students. Augustana, ranked No. 3 in the Baccalaureate College (Midwest) overall rankings the past two years, has 23 percent of its undergraduate students receiving Pell Grants.

In its survey, U.S. News states while the proportion of students on Pell Grants, which are most often given to undergrads with family incomes under $20,000, isn’t a perfect measure of an institution’s efforts to achieve economic diversity, many experts say Pell figures are the best available gauge of how many low-income undergrads there are on a given campus.

“I think it's significant that U.S. News is recognizing this form of diversity,” says Nancy Davidson, Vice President for Enrollment. “So often students and parents assume that resources are not available to assist them in financing a private college education. Clearly, it's not the case here. In addition to the Pell Grants that our students receive, Augustana provides them significant amounts of scholarships and grants. We have long been committed to partnering with families in providing a high quality education as an affordable investment. We hope the news continues to spread.”

According to the magazine, Pell Grant percentages were calculated using 2007-2008 data on grant recipients collected by the US Department of Education and given to U.S. News, and fall 2007 total undergraduate enrollment collected from the colleges themselves by U.S. News. Augustana had a total undergraduate headcount of 1,718 in the fall of 2007. In fall 2009, it increased to 1,793.