GEORGETOWN, Texas – In the 2023-2024 U.S. News & World Report National Liberal Arts Colleges Rankings, Southwestern has secured its position as one of the top national liberal arts colleges in Texas and ranks 89th nationally. The University has also garnered recognition as a Top Performer in Social Mobility.

Southwestern has a strong commitment to fostering social mobility. A significant portion of students receiving Pell Grants at SU come from households with family incomes less than $50,000 annually. For the fourth consecutive year, U.S. News has included this distinctive social mobility ranking, ranking Southwestern 124th for its dedication to providing opportunities for upward mobility and educational equity. This ranking comes on the heels of a New York Times Magazine College-Access Index report, which identified Southwestern as the top university in Texas for the greatest economic diversity among its students, placing Southwestern 21st among national liberal arts universities.

The U.S. News social mobility ranking was computed by aggregating the two ranking factors assessing graduation rates of Pell-awarded students:

  • Pell Grant graduation rates incorporate six-year graduation rates of Pell Grant students, adjusted to give much more credit to schools with larger Pell student proportions. This is computed as a four-year rolling average.
  • Pell Grant graduation rate performance compares each school’s six-year graduation rate among Pell recipients with its six-year graduation rate among non-Pell recipients by dividing the former into the latter, then adjusting to give much more credit to schools with larger Pell student proportions. The higher a school’s Pell graduation rate relative to its non-Pell graduation rate up to the rates being equal, the better it scores. This, too, is computed as a four-year rolling average.

Southwestern is categorized as a National Liberal Arts College (NLAC) based on the Carnegie Basic Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. Other classifications include National Universities, which offer graduate programs; Regional Universities (North, South, Midwest, and West); and Regional Colleges (also sorted into North, South, Midwest, and West lists). NLACs include private and public institutions that focus almost exclusively on undergraduate education and award at least 50 percent of their degrees in the arts and sciences. The editors of the popular college guidebook classify schools to compare schools with similar missions more fairly.

U.S. News and World Report assesses colleges and universities based on varying measures of academic excellence, such as admissions selectivity, student retention, average class size, per-student spending, the strength of the faculty, graduation rates, alumni employment outcomes, and alumni giving. It also ranks schools in categories such as first-year experiences, internships, learning communities, service-learning, study abroad, undergraduate research and creative projects, senior capstones, and writing in the disciplines. Unlike other college-ranking organizations, they do not rely on opinions garnered from residence hall tours, student polls, or recruiter interviews. The publication has been ranking colleges and universities since 1983.