Northeastern Illinois University again tops U.S. News & World Report rankings for low student debt

Northeastern Illinois University graduates its students with the least amount of student debt among Midwest regional universities, according to the 2019 edition of U.S. News & World Report’s annual “Best Colleges” publication. The report also showed Northeastern in a tie for second for diverse student population among Midwest regional universities.

This marks the fifth year in a row that Northeastern has earned the No. 1 spot for students who graduate with the least amount of debt among Midwest regional universities. Only 53 percent of Northeastern’s 2017 graduating class incurred debt, and those students borrowed an average of $15,819.

“Northeastern Illinois University takes student success very seriously, and an important component of that success is the ability to study and attend class without the distraction of rapidly accumulating student debt,” Northeastern President Gloria J. Gibson said. “We are proud to offer a world-class education at an affordable price so our graduates can focus on their careers, not their financial burdens.”

The data for the debt rankings were drawn from each institution’s 2017 graduating class. According to U.S. News & World Report, the data include loans taken out by students from colleges, from private financial institutions, and from federal, state and local governments. Parents’ loans are not included.

According to a report released in August by LendEDU, Northeastern students graduate with the 12th-lowest student loan debt nationally among public four-year colleges and universities and the lowest debt among all Illinois institutions. Among all four-year colleges and universities, Northeastern ranks 29th.

Northeastern has been on U.S. News & World Report’s list of most diverse universities since 1997, the first year the publication established the category in its “Best Colleges” rankings. The data for the diversity rankings were drawn from each institution’s 2017-18 enrollment numbers. According to U.S. News & World Report, the rankings factored in the proportion of minority students—excluding international students—and the overall mix of groups in each institution’s student body. The groups forming the basis for the calculations were non-Hispanic African-American, Hispanic, American Indian, Pacific Islander/Native Hawaiian, Asian, non-Hispanic white and multiracial (two or more races).

Northeastern’s ethnic diversity reflects the urban environment of Chicago. The largest minority group of students at Northeastern is Latino, and the school was the first four-year public university in the Midwest federally designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution.

“Diversity is more than numbers in a spreadsheet. Diversity is written into the DNA of this University,” said Gibson, the first African-American woman to lead Northeastern. “We proudly embrace our differences in age, ethnicity and experience, and use them to learn and grow—an important aspect of preparation for an increasingly multicultural world.”

Northeastern Illinois University is a fully accredited public university serving full- and part-time undergraduate and graduate students. Northeastern engages its diverse university community in a rich environment of learning, teaching and scholarship. The University offers more than 40 undergraduate degree and certificate programs and more than 50 graduate degree, certificate, licensure and endorsement programs.

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Graduates dressed in blue robes seated at a Commencement ceremony
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