SAU Breaks Barriers in the 2024 U.S. News & World Report Rankings

SAU’s analysis of its ranking reveals the university surpassing higher ranked institutions in key areas

Saint Augustine’s University (SAU) achieved significant recognition in the latest 2024 U.S. News & World Report (USNWR) rankings last fall, reflecting a remarkable rise in critical categories. The university climbed 20 spots from 65th to 45th in the Social Mobility category, ranking 86 out of 132 universities for best schools in the southern region. Furthermore, SAU secured the 69th position out of the top 79 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), marking a commendable achievement.

“We are thrilled to see Saint Augustine’s University making significant strides in the U.S. News & World Report rankings,” said SAU Interim President Dr. Marcus H. Burgess. “This recognition is a testament to our unwavering commitment to academic excellence and student success. SAU’s rise in the rankings underscores our dedication to providing a transformative educational experience that empowers our students to achieve their full potential.”

The rise in social mobility is especially noteworthy, the highest since 2021 when SAU was ranked 39th. This remarkable progress aligns with the findings of a study conducted by SAU’s Office of Institutional Research and Analytics (OIRA) last year.

“SAU’s progress in its U.S. News & World Report rankings emphasizes the university’s remarkable journey and its consistent improvement in key factors such as social mobility,” said Dr. Runell King, SAU Vice President of Institutional and Sponsored Research. “Such improvements align with SAU’s dedication to achieving success and excellence.”

The Social Mobility Index (SMI) developed by CollegeNet measures how much a college or university educates economically disadvantaged students who have received Pell Grants. Students with adjusted gross family incomes under $50,000 receive these grants extensively. In 2022, SAU ranked an impressive 233 out of 1,414 institutions in SMI, placing the university among the top 16% nationwide.

The Office of Institutional Research and Analytics (OIRA) at SAU conducted an in-depth analysis of the university’s rise in the U.S. News & World Report rankings, revealing SAU’s performance in student-faculty ratio, social mobility, and faculty salary rank exceeding schools with higher USNWR rankings. A complete list of key findings are as follows:

First-Year Retention:

SAU achieved an impressive overall first-year retention rate of 64%, representing a significant increase compared to the previous academic year.

Average Graduation Rate:

SAU’s average graduation rate surpasses the national HBCU average by 9.6%. It outperforms institutions with higher 2024 USNWR rankings, including Alabama State University (#36) and Virginia Union University (#39). Moreover, there was an increase of 4.3% in the average graduation rate, from 21% in 2021-2022 to 25.30% in 2022-2023, indicating gradual yet significant progress.

College Grads Earning More Than High School Graduates:

SAU has exceeded schools ranked #72-78 by 45% in the proportion of federal loan recipients earning more than the median salary of a high school graduate four years after completing their undergraduate degrees, showcasing the university’s focus on post-graduation success.

First-Generation Graduation Rates:

SAU’s remarkable rise in social mobility measures among private schools and significant improvement in the 2024 USNWR ranking demonstrates the university’s commitment to empowering first-generation students and promoting upward mobility.

Faculty Salary Rank:

SAU achieved an impressive ranking of 39th out of 421 schools, reflecting a substantial increase in faculty salary compared to other institutions. This notable ranking places SAU in the same league as prestigious institutions such as Tuskegee University (rank #4), Xavier University of Louisiana (rank #6), and Hampton University (rank #6), demonstrating SAU’s significant contribution to educational excellence.

Student-Faculty Ratio:

SAU’s student-faculty ratio has significantly improved, aligning with institutions like Tuskegee University, Tennessee State University, and Xavier University of Louisiana. The favorable class size rankings, drawing nominal differences from schools like Xavier University of Louisiana and Florida A&M University, represent a positive transformation within the faculty resources category.

Graduate Indebtedness:

SAU’s median debt for graduates’ federal loans is $29,669, reflecting a marginal difference from other institutions, such as Grambling State University and Bluefield State University. This finding is a testament to SAU’s commitment to ensuring students’ financial well-being and readiness to embark on successful careers.

“The OIRA findings point toward a definitive shift in the academic landscape of SAU, indicating our unwavering commitment to excellence, opportunity, and academic advancement,” said Dr. Indrani Singh, SAU Director of Institutional Research. “The upward trajectory in these key findings is a testament to the dedication of our faculty and staff in ensuring student success.”

These achievements underscore SAU’s relentless pursuit of academic excellence and unwavering dedication to providing students with comprehensive resources and opportunities to succeed. As an institution that has long been committed to transforming lives and empowering students to achieve their highest potential, SAU continues to make strides in shaping the future of education.