2016 Catholic Digest College Guide

Assumption College's Rome campus takes full advantage of everything the Eternal City has to offer and turns the entire city into a living classroom.

Across the United States, Catholic colleges and universities enable students to develop professionally without losing their Catholic identity. Catholic Digest’s college guide presents academic and financial information from schools in all parts of the country, but it also details the opportunities students have to continue growing in their faith — and deepening their love for Christ and his Church.




Assumption College

Worcester, Massachusetts — Assumption.edu


Academics: Founded in 1904 by the Augustinians of the Assumption in Worcester, Massachusetts, Assumption College is a Catholic liberal arts institution that offers undergraduate students 43 majors and 48 minors in the liberal arts, sciences, business, and professional studies, as well as master’s and continuing education degrees and professional certificate programs — each program grounded in the rich Catholic intellectual tradition.


Faith: Campus ministry’s mission is carried out through Catholic liturgies and prayer services, retreats to further spiritual development, community service throughout the world, discussion groups, and other programs. Each and every student is encouraged to explore and understand his or her personal faith tradition.


Financial assistance: More than 90 percent of students receive aid. The college offers scholarships, grants, work-study, and other assistance.


Tuition, room and board: Undergraduate tuition $35,510; fees $650; room/board $11,264


What’s new: Ground was recently broken on a 60,000-square-foot academic center which will contain 13 high-tech, flexible classrooms of varying sizes, seminar rooms, common study spaces, a 400-seat performance hall, a rehearsal room, a multifunction space with capacity for 400 people, faculty offices for the business studies department, the honors program, the Assumption Core Texts Program, the Center for Teaching Excellence, and a new Center for the Study of Ethics. The center is slated to open in 2017.


Total number of students and student-faculty ratio: Undergraduate students (degree-seeking) 1,979; 12:1


Average amount of graduating student debt: N/A


Acceptance rate: 75.8 percent


Average freshman retention rate: 83 percent


“Assumption has prepared me for my career through strong academics and meaningful connections made in the classroom and via internships.—Samantha DeForest, ’16, Chicopee, Massachusetts


College of St. Joseph

Rutland, Vermont — CSJ.edu 


Academics: The college offers more than 30 majors. Undergraduate programs include English, accounting, business administration, and sports management. Graduate programs include business, elementary education, and clinical psychology.


Faith: A spiritual reflection is held each Wednesday during Community Day when there are no classes and students have academic, service, and spiritual opportunities.


Financial assistance: The college offers the Provider Scholarship Program. The scholarship for full-time undergraduate students, worth $65,000 over four years, incorporates a commitment to academic excellence, personal and professional growth, and community service. Tuition and room and board costs are locked in over four years, which means that the direct cost to students decreases over their time at CSJ. Ninety-eight percent of students receive some form of financial aid.


Tuition, room and board: The Provider Scholarship is available to all students meeting the college’s regular admissions standards. For example, in the first year, a residential student contributes $16,600 but by the fourth year, the student’s contribution is $14,100. The scholarship gradually increases during that time to cover the annual $31,600 cost for tuition and room and board. This does not include fees and additional costs such as insurance and books.


What’s new: Starting in fall 2016 several new majors will be offered, including a bachelor of arts in educational studies that prepares students who are interested in pursuing careers in secondary social studies, secondary English, special education, elementary education, or personalized learning, or who are interested in a career in the field of education but not necessarily classroom teaching.


Total number of students and student-faculty ratio: 330; 12:1


Average amount of graduating student debt: $26,115


Acceptance rate: 72 percent


Average freshman retention rate: 65 percent


“This college has become more than a school to me. It has become my home and it has become a place where I can look back and see so many accomplishments that I have been able to reach based on the great staff and friendly atmosphere. — Kyle Milligan, Ludlow, Vermont




Christendom College

Front Royal, Virginia — Christendom.edu


Academics: Christendom exposes students to the canon of Western civilization with an 86-credit-hour core curriculum, with an emphasis on reading and writing papers, Catholic theology, and Thomistic philosophy. Available majors are classical studies, English language and literature, history, mathematics, philosophy, political science and economics, and theology, along with minors in music, math, physics, and economics.


Faith: Hundreds of students attend daily Mass. The college, which is run by a lay board, has the approval of the ordinary of the Diocese of Arlington (Virginia). All professors are Catholic and make an oath of fidelity to the Magisterium and a profession of faith each year in the presence of the Diocese of Arlington’s Bishop Paul Loverde. All classes, whenever possible, are taught with a Catholic vision and worldview.


Financial assistance: Students may be eligible for need assistance loans and grants, merit scholarships, and family discounts based on simultaneous enrollment of siblings. All students also have the opportunity to earn extra money from student jobs at the college. Although Christendom does not participate in any federal funding programs, more than 70 percent of students at Christendom receive some form of financial assistance every year. The college makes its education affordable for every student.


Tuition: $23,990


What’s new: The college recently expanded its athletic offerings, adding men’s and women’s cross country and re-establishing both the softball and baseball programs. The new additions enhance the college’s already-rich selection of available collegiate sports, which include men’s and women’s soccer and basketball, women’s volleyball, and men’s rugby. The college has experienced great athletic success over the past few years, with the soccer teams placing among the top ten teams in the nation, and the men’s rugby team defeating schools such as Duke University and more. In addition to the expansion of the athletic program, the college’s physical plant is expanding as well, with the recent purchase of 80 acres of new land, which will be used for future building developments. Due to a 21 percent growth in enrollment over the past three years, the college is currently constructing a new women’s residence hall as well with plans to begin other new construction projects over the next few years.


Total number of students and student-faculty ratio: 469; 15:1


Acceptance rate: 83 percent


Average freshman retention rate: 88 percent


“Christendom is an academic institution, and it will not fail to live up to your hopes if what you want from a school is an education which will free you to become a person of intelligence, character, and influence. The change in my intellectual life from when I started here as a freshman to my senior year is truly one of night to day. Come to the school, visit the classrooms, talk to the professors, seek out the deep conversations and leave with questions. Then come back to Christendom to learn how to answer them.” — Will Stamper


Le Moyne College

Syracuse, New York — LeMoyne.edu


Academics: Le Moyne offers 32 undergraduate majors and more than 40 programs in the arts, humanities, sciences, business, and education.


Faith: Through a variety of activities, campus ministry offers a multitude of opportunities for students to grow spiritually, engage in social justice and direct service, become involved in campus liturgies, make spiritual retreats, and actively practice their faith. Campus ministry welcomes and serves persons of various religious affiliations and faith traditions represented by the student population.


Financial assistance: The college offers an array of merit scholarships and need-based grants. The college also participates in state grant programs as well as federal campus-based programs, federal Pell Grants, and direct loan programs. Ninety-nine percent of students receive financial aid.


Tuition: $33,030 (2016–17 tuition and fees)


What’s new: Thanks to a gift of nearly $7 million, The Purcell School of Professional Studies was named for two Le Moyne alumni, John (’65) and Kathy (’66) Purcell. The Purcell School incorporates some of Le Moyne’s most competitive and highly recognized programs, including physician assistant studies, education, and nursing, as well as newer programs in occupational therapy and family nurse practitioner.


Total number of students and student-faculty ratio: 3,478; 12:1


Average amount of graduating student debt: N/A


Acceptance rate: 62 percent


Average freshman retention rate: 88 percent


“I have worked to incorporate the Jesuit values such as serving and caring for others into my daily life through alternative break service trips to New Orleans, Dominica, and Ecuador, and I am fortunate to continue this in India. — Colleen Fagan,
Milford, Pennsylvania 


The Catholic University of America

Washington, D.C. — CUA.edu 


Academics: CUA grants undergraduate degrees in 74 programs, including architecture and planning, arts and sciences, business and economics, engineering, music, nursing, philosophy, professional studies, social work, and theology and religious studies.


Faith: Weekday and Sunday Masses, weekly Holy Hours, service to the poor, and mission trips. The campus has a 24-hour reservation chapel and four other chapels. There are several women religious and priests living and serving in residence halls. Campus ministry offers faith-based student groups, retreats, small community groups, vocational discernment, RCIA, student ministry, and other programs.


Financial assistance: More than 90 percent of full-time, degree-seeking undergraduates receive some form of aid. The university awards more than $50 million in institutional grants and scholarships, as well as more than $2 million in federal and state grant funds, to undergraduate students.


Tuition: $55,620


What’s new: In 2015, Pope Francis became the third pope to visit the university when he celebrated the canonization Mass of Junípero Serra at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception overlooking CUA’s campus.


Total number of students and student-faculty ratio: 6,521; 7:1


Average amount of graduating student debt: $42,458


Acceptance rate: 78.6 percent


Average freshman retention rate: 86 percent


“Catholic promotes extending your hand [further] as a human being, taking that extra step to help others.” — Maribel Okiye, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands




Creighton University

Omaha, Nebraska — Creighton.edu


Academics: With nine schools and colleges, Creighton offers more than 100 academic programs, degrees, and majors in fields such as chemistry, social work, musical theater, business, and health sciences including nursing, pharmacy, dentistry, and medicine.


Faith: St. John’s Parish Church is located at the heart of the campus and offers Masses daily. Student groups offer involvement in many areas and service trips are offered twice a year through the Schlegel Center for Service and Justice. Students, faculty, staff, and alumni are spiritually energized by Creighton’s role in the community and by the services provided by the mission and ministry division.


Financial assistance: Need-based scholarships/grants offered: Federal Pell, FSEOG, state scholarships/grants, private scholarships, college/university scholarship, or grant aid from institutional funds. Loan aid offered: Direct Subsidized Stafford Loans, Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loans, Direct PLUS loans, Federal Perkins Loans, Federal Nursing Loans. Ninety-seven percent of undergraduate students receive some form of aid.


Tuition: $35,942


What’s new: The new president, Father Daniel Hendrickson, SJ, announced the Creighton Global Initiative during his inauguration in November 2015. The initiative will build upon current academic and institutional efforts and creatively envision and implement new ones.


Total number of students and student-faculty ratio: 8,236; 11:1


Average amount of graduating student debt: $27,110


Acceptance rate: 70 percent


Average freshman retention rate: 90 percent


“I chose Creighton for all the reasons that can’t be found in a brochure or on a website. I chose Creighton because of the smiles I received on the mall when walking during my visit, because of the handwritten note I received from my admissions counselor, because of the environmental services staff member who held the door for my entire tour with an ear-to-ear grin, hoping that we would soon love Creighton as much as he did. —Meghan Bullard, Springfield, Missouri


John Carroll University

University Heights, Ohio — JCU.edu


Academics: John Carroll is a private, coeducational, Jesuit Catholic university providing programs of study in the liberal arts, sciences, and business at the undergraduate level and in selected areas at the master’s level. Academically the university consists of the College of Arts and Sciences and the John M. and Mary Jo Boler School of Business, which both include graduate programs.


Faith: All campus ministry events are open to people of all faiths. Interfaith and ecumenical programs and worship experiences are held throughout the academic year. In addition, every effort is made to connect students to a worshipping community within their faith tradition.


Financial assistance: The majority of students receive some form of financial assistance. Many undergraduate students qualify for a combination of merit-based scholarships and need-based grants. Educational loans, alternative loans, on-campus employment, and payment plans are designed to fill in the gap.


Tuition: $37,190


What’s new: The new professional health care preparation minor and certificate program emphasizes health care communication, ethics, management, and compassionate care.


Total number of students and student-to-faculty ratio: 3,700; 14:1.


Average amount of graduating student debt: $28,689


Acceptance rate: 82 percent


Average freshman retention rate: 87 percent


“The moment I walked on campus I knew I was home. John Carroll presented a tight-knit community, strong academics, and a seemingly endless list of extracurricular opportunities.” — Mike Andelbradt, Chicago 


Rockhurst University

Kansas City, Missouri — Rockhurst.edu


Academics: As one of 28 Jesuit institutions in the nation, Rockhurst offers a quality, private education with a distinct focus on lifelong learning, leadership, and service. The university has more than 50 majors.


Faith: Daily Mass is celebrated at both the campus chapel and the Jesuit parish; there are also on-campus worship and prayer spaces. Students have the opportunity to be Eucharistic ministers, lectors, altar servers, greeters, cantors, instrumentalists, and members of the contemporary ensemble for the student liturgies. For students who are not Catholic, campus ministry offers assistance in finding each student a local community of faith where they can worship.


Financial assistance: Competitive, academic, and talent scholarships, state aid, and grants are available. Ninety-eight percent of students receive aid.


Tuition: $34,000


What’s new: Construction of a new academic building, Pedro Arrupe, SJ, Hall, was completed in fall 2015. Building features include an open layout of the main hallway, Roasterie Café, increased energy efficiency, classroom technology, and access to natural light. Upperclassmen have the opportunity to live in new townhome-style campus housing beginning with the fall 2016 semester.


Total number of students and student-to-faculty ratio: 3,000; 12:1


Average amount of graduating student debt: $25,600


Acceptance rate: 74 percent


Freshman retention rate: 85.2 percent


“Rockhurst is not only a place for leaders to learn, but for students’ lives to be transformed so that they can change the world and make a difference for others.”  — Jeremy Kamper, ’17


Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College

St. Mary of the Woods, Indiana — SMWC.edu


Academics: The college offers more than 25 undergraduate majors, both on campus and online, along with four graduate programs — art therapy, health care administration, leadership development, and music therapy.


Faith: Though the college’s roots are in the Roman Catholic tradition, campus ministry services are available to students of all faiths. Campus ministry offers students, faculty, and staff opportunities for faith development, many venues for service opportunities, spiritual formation, and liturgical involvement.


Financial assistance: Eighty-four percent of all undergraduates receive financial aid, and 100 percent of all first-time, full-time undergraduates receive assistance.


Tuition: $28,932


What’s new: In 2015 SMWC announced the decision to become co-ed, admitting men into its traditional undergraduate program. It admitted men as commuters into the campus program in fall 2015 and as resident students in fall 2016. SMWC now offers men’s golf and men’s cross country, as well as hunt seat and western equestrian teams.


Total number of students and student-faculty ratio: 1,600–1,700; 8:1


Average amount of graduating student debt: N/A


Acceptance rate: 59 percent


Average freshman retention rate: 78 percent


“I chose The Woods because I felt I could get a desirable education with much aid and encouragement from my professors. I also felt our provident God led me here and provided me with the connections I needed as well as the support to be a confident leader.”  — Anna Madden, Indianapolis 


University of Dayton

Dayton, Ohio — UDayton.edu


Academics: The university offers more than 80 undergraduate and 50 graduate and doctoral programs.


Faith: Campus ministry strives to cultivate the Catholic faith through liturgy, sacraments, small faith communities, catechetical training for liturgical ministers, representing the Catholic tradition on campus committees, and participating in pastoral care conversations. Campus ministry is staffed by more than two dozen campus ministers, as well as lay ecclesial ministers and professed religious from Marianist, Franciscan, and Dominican traditions. The newly renovated Chapel of the Immaculate Conception is the spiritual heart of the campus, and a Sunday evening Mass in the student neighborhood brings students together to worship in community.


Financial assistance: More than 90 percent of students receive financial assistance. The university provides families with full disclosure of costs and the assurance that scholarships and grants will grow each year as tuition increases. The university has eliminated additional fees or surcharges.


Tuition: $39,090


What’s new: The Semester Abroad and Intercultural Leadership Program (SAIL) is a new education abroad and leadership development program beginning in 2016–17. Students can study either at the university’s China Institute in Suzhou, China; Maynooth University in Ireland; or Universidad Pontifica Comillas in Spain for the same cost as a semester on campus. All SAIL students qualify for an additional $3,000 scholarship for expenses. Also 2016–17 inaugurates the UD Sinclair Academy, an innovative partnership with Sinclair Community College designed to increase accessibility of a University of Dayton degree for students who start their education at Sinclair.


Total number of students and student-faculty ratio: 10,811; 16:1


Average amount of graduating student debt: $22,158


Acceptance rate: 59 percent


Freshman retention rate: 92 percent


“The University of Dayton is obviously a beautiful campus, and I chose to come here because of the strong academics, but it’s truly a welcoming community.”  —Benjamin Krajnak, Columbus, Ohio




Belmont Abbey College

Belmont, North Carolina — BelmontAbbeyCollege.edu 


Academics: Belmont Abbey offers 16 majors, with a balance between liberal arts and career-oriented programs. More than half the full-time students concentrate on business or education. A new program of interest is the Catholic educational studies degree that prepares graduates for careers as Catholic school teachers, youth ministers, or parish religious education directors. Motorsport management is also a popular major, in part because of the nearby NASCAR headquarters. The college has a reputation for its strong biology department, which has a 100 percent placement rate for graduates into medical, dental, and veterinary schools.


Faith: Spiritual life at Belmont Abbey is centered at the historic Abbey Basilica of Mary, Help of Christians, constructed with financial support from St. Katharine Drexel. Mass is offered daily and multiple times on Sunday. The Blessed Sacrament is exposed 15 hours a day in the St. Joseph Adoration Chapel. Student groups use the chapel for various purposes, including weekly praise and worship on Wednesday nights and communal prayer by the men’s and women’s households. A Lourdes Grotto in the center of campus, dedicated in 1891, has been given special status as a Pilgrimage Shrine for religious vocations.


 Financial assistance: Eight-five percent of Belmont Abbey full-time freshmen receive some form of financial aid. Additionally, the college offers merit scholarships based on academic history. Athletic grants and need-based aid are also available.


Tuition, room and board: $28,594


What’s new: Belmont Abbey introduced its Four-Year Tuition Guarantee, which assures families that tuition will not change over the course of a student’s career.


Total number of students and student-faculty ratio: 1,493; 17:1


Average amount of graduating student debt: $28,477


Acceptance rate: 68 percent


Average freshman retention rate: 60 percent


“The professors, monks, students, even the president, all love fearlessly and endlessly like Christ himself. I know everyone in all my classes, and my professors know me.” — Mary Kate Reid, Huntersville, North Carolina 


Brescia University

Owensboro, Kentucky — Brescia.edu


Academics: The university offers more than 40 degree programs.


Faith: New to the university this year is the Caritas Leadership Workshop Series, Learning to Lead with Love. The program is designed to provide students with the opportunity to develop their own leadership abilities, explore leadership opportunities on campus, and envision ways in which they can be leaders in their communities by embracing the ideals of Caritas theology and leading out of love for others. The program culminates with a service/pilgrimage experience to Honduras with the organization Water with Blessings.


Financial assistance: Average financial aid packages for 2014–15 were $25,269 for first-year students; $24,440 for all undergrads.


Tuition, room and board: $29,100


What’s new: The first phase of a $10 million capital campaign will see major renovations to The Moore Center (formerly the Campus Center), including an open-concept living and dining area on the first floor with a remodeled cafeteria, a new snack bar, and spirit shop. This floor will also see a new athletics hall of fame and an expanded gymnasium to accommodate nearly 1,000 fans and will feature two full-practice courts and a primary playing court.


Total number of students and student-faculty ratio: 1,043; 8:1


Average amount of graduating student debt: N/A


Acceptance rate: 48 percent


Average freshman retention rate: 61 percent


“The ‘Brescia Difference’ is a single mother in Florida being able to take classes online so she can better her life and the lives of her children. The ‘Brescia Difference’ is faculty who answer your call at midnight the night before a paper is due or staff who help you get an internship that will help you in your career.”  — CJ Bright, Gilbertsville, Kentucky


Loyola University New Orleans

New Orleans — LoyNO.edu


Academics: The university offers a range of undergraduate academic programs across three colleges (College of Business, College of Arts and Sciences, and College of Music and Fine Arts). Loyola also has a College of Law and a College of Graduate and Professional Studies. The university offers MBA studies through its College of Business.


Faith: The university offers daily and weekly Masses and embraces celebration of every faith. Students may participate in Loyola Week, Ramadan activities, and Seder meals, as well as take part in service organizations, campus ministry sponsored events, and faith-based mission trips organized by the Ignacio Volunteers.


Financial assistance: Eighty-nine percent of students receive some form of financial aid, including grants, merit scholarships, loans and work-study opportunities. The average need-based grant is $29,994.


Tuition: Base tuition: $36,938; total resident student tuition: $51,158; total commuter student tuition: $38,754


What’s new: Loyola had a record four Fulbright scholars during the 2014–2015 year, earning status as a “top U.S. Fulbright Producer” from the U.S. State Department. In 2015 the university completed a $94 million renovation to Monroe Hall, home to biomedical research, arts, and STEM studies.


Total number of students and student-faculty ratio: 4,273; 10:1


Average amount of graduating student debt: $28,000


Acceptance rate: 73 percent


Average freshman retention rate: 78 percent


“Loyola challenged me in so many ways. It opened my eyes to all types of people, backgrounds, religions, passions, and cultures.”  — Amelie Karem, ’13


Our Lady of the Lake University

San Antonio — OLLUSA.edu


Academics: The university offers more than 60 undergraduate majors and minors, including programs in business, cybersecurity, communications and learning disorders, education, and biology.


Faith: Mass is held four times per week on campus. In addition to attending Mass, students have the opportunity to volunteer by being cantors, lectors, choir members, altar servers, or extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion. Several retreats are offered throughout the year. Many students join the Sisters of Divine Providence associates program and become lay members of the congregation.


Financial assistance: Institutional aid, scholarships, grants, and loans are offered. Ninety-nine percent of full-time, first-time freshmen receive financial aid, and 88 percent of undergraduates receive grants and/or scholarship aid.


Tuition: $39,512


What’s new: OLLU students will soon be able to enjoy the $14 million in improvements made to Lake Elmendorf (the lake on which the campus sits). Improvements include walking trails, picnic areas, exercise stations, a plaza for large gatherings, fountains in the middle of the lake, rain gardens, and bioswales to improve water quality. The project was scheduled to be completed in July 2016. This summer OLLU planned to break ground on a new $15 million residence hall.


Total number of students and student-faculty ratio: 3,334; 13:1


Average amount of graduating student debt: $25,250


Acceptance rate: 68 percent


Average freshman retention rate: 59 percent (2014–2015)


“OLLU taught me how important community is to society as a whole. Through service learning projects, I also learned that community outreach can change lives and truly help those in need.” — Gabriela Aguilar,’15, San Antonio 


Spring Hill College

Mobile, Alabama — SHC.edu 


Academics: The college offers 46 undergraduate majors and areas of concentration.


Faith: Mass is offered 12 times per week on campus, and Eucharistic Adoration is held each Thursday during the semester. Priests are available for confession on a regular basis, and students can participate in the RCIA program. Justice and service opportunities provide students with the chance to open their eyes and hearts to the poor, the marginalized, and suffering in the world.


Financial assistance: Ninety-nine percent of students receive financial aid, including scholarships, grants, federal loans, and work-study.


Tuition, room, board, and fees: $46,318


What’s new: As part of the student orientation process, Welcome to The Hill, students participated in a service project with The Foley Community Service Center on campus. The center places students where they can serve others and learn about community needs at the same time. Incoming students worked alongside 100 local school children on a project involving poetry and art guided by college faculty.


Total number of students and student-faculty ratio: 1,449; 13:1


Average amount of graduating student debt: N/A


Acceptance rate: N/A


Average freshman retention rate: 81 percent


“Spring Hill College has given me the reasoning, the knowledge, the confidence, the compassion, the courage, and the love that I need to take on the world to work for peace and justice through educating young people once I graduate.” — Clare Wojda, St. Paul, Minnesota




Marylhurst University

Marylhurst, Oregon — Marylhurst.edu


Academics: The university offers more than 40 undergraduate and graduate degrees and professional certificate programs on campus and online, all of which integrate liberal arts with professional studies.


Faith: Ongoing activities include monthly Mass, weekly silent meditation (interfaith), special events in response to world events, meditation room, prayer requests, and opportunities for service.


 Financial assistance: Many Marylhurst students receive some type of financial aid, including scholarships, grants, and loans. Students with demonstrated financial need: 58 percent (full-time undergraduate students), 60 percent (undergraduate students, including part-time students).


Tuition: Full-time undergraduate (15 credits/3 terms): $20,835; full-time graduate (9 credits/3 terms):  $16,686


What’s new: In celebration of Earth Day 2016, the university published its first official sustainability policy, highlighting its commitment to environmental awareness.


Total number of students and student-faculty ratio: 982; 5:1


Average amount of graduating student debt: N/A


Acceptance rate: N/A


Average freshman retention rate: 75 percent


“The depth of community, the diversity of students that made for rich conversations, [and] the joy and strength the campus environment brought me each time I attended class or worked in the library all allowed me to achieve the transformation I needed to move my career in a new direction.” — Michelle Brenes, ’11


Regis University

Denver — Regis.edu


Academics: The university has five colleges with more than 200 degree and certificate programs at the undergraduate and graduate level.


Faith: The university offers daily Mass, youth groups, retreats, and service learning opportunities. The university also offers a Catholic studies minor and has a religious studies requirement that encourages discovery of individual direction through key courses such as global environmental awareness, ethics and multiculturalism, religion and the human quest, and interfaith dialogue.


Financial assistance: Ninety-six percent of students receive financial aid. Undergraduate students have received $6.7 million in grants or scholarships. The average grant or scholarship aid undergraduates receive is $18,159.


Tuition: $34,100


What’s new: The university will host a ceremony awarding the world’s most prestigious faith-based humanitarian award, the Opus Prize, in fall 2017. The Opus Prize Foundation awards one individual with a $1 million prize and two runners-up each with a $100,000 prize. The award recipients must display unwavering faith, moral responsibility, and a commitment to social justice and service in their daily lives.


Total number of students and student-faculty ratio: 9,208; 14:1


Average level of graduating student debt: N/A


Acceptance rate: N/A


Average freshman retention rate: N/A


“My experience here has been so much more than what I expected. The community here is focused on caring and on bettering yourself.” — Agnes Pham, Lakewood, Colorado


Saint Martin’s University

Lacey, Washington — StMartin.edu 


Academics: The university offers more than 55 academic programs, including mechanical and civil engineering, social work, communication studies, and business.


Faith: St. Martin’s is a Benedictine university and shares the campus with a Benedictine monastery currently housing 22 monastic members. Daily prayer and Mass, as well as an additional student liturgy on Sundays, are available to all students. The campus ministry office serves as the spiritual hub of the campus and offers Bible studies, Mass in the residence halls, Adoration, reconciliation, Rosary, Stations of the Cross, the Papa Pete and Popcorn media lecture series hosted by the university chaplain, retreats, service immersion opportunities, and more. More than 24 faiths are represented on campus.


 Financial assistance:  One hundred percent of domestic students with need receive some form of financial aid; around $15 million is given out in student scholarships each year. Merit scholarships for traditional first-year students range from $32,000 to $70,000 over four years; for transfer students they range from $5,000 to $11,000 per year. Additional awards are available based on criteria such as academics, athletics, graduation from a Catholic high school or involvement with a local parish, and alumni referral. Four full-tuition Abbot scholarships are offered annually to seniors graduating from a Catholic high school in Washington state.


Tuition, room and board: $43,140


What’s new: A new industrial lab building was completed in spring 2016.


Total number of students and student-faculty ratio: 1,415; 12:1


Average amount of graduating student debt: $25,000


Acceptance rate: 95 percent


Average freshman retention rate: 79 percent


Thomas Aquinas College

Santa Paula, California — ThomasAquinas.edu 


Academics: Thomas Aquinas College offers just one course of studies culminating in a bachelor of arts in liberal arts. There are no majors, no minors, no electives, and no specializations.


Faith: The college’s chaplains offer Mass four times daily in Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Chapel, and confessions are heard before and after each Mass. Spiritual direction is available to anyone who desires it. Many students serve as acolytes and sacristans, in pro-life work, and in the Legion of Mary. Retreats and vocations talks, processions and Holy Hours, the Rosary, and the Liturgy of the Hours — all are regular occurrences among the student body. Each activity, as with each class, begins with a prayer.


 Financial assistance: The college offers financial assistance to the approximately 75 percent of students with demonstrated need who would otherwise not be able to attend.


Tuition, room and board: $32,450


What’s new: Through a grant by the Fritz B. Burns Foundation, construction is underway for the college’s 14th building, St. Cecilia Hall, which will serve as a venue for lectures, concerts, and student performances.


Total number of students and student-faculty ratio: 377; 11:1


Average amount of graduating student debt: $16,263


Acceptance rate: 77 percent


Average freshman retention rate: 93 percent


“In our classroom discussions, we are responsible for our own education. We have to get our hands dirty to figure out the material, to let it become part of us, and make us better people. That is real learning.” —Isabella Hsu, ’18, Redondo Beach, California


The University of Portland

Portland, Oregon — UP.edu 


Academics: With 41 majors offered, all students take core classes in such subjects as history, theology, English, and philosophy.


Faith: Mass is offered daily inside the Chapel of Christ the Teacher. For students of other religious backgrounds, the university has an Islamic prayer room, which is open to the university community, as well as a directory of places of worship to assist all students in following their own religious traditions.


Financial assistance: Sources include federal, state, institutional, and/or outside sources.


Tuition, room and board: $51,734


What’s new: The university recently began construction on a new 270-student residence hall. The university aims to complete the project prior to the start of the 2016–17 academic year.


Total number of students and student-faculty ratio: 8,500; 14:1


Average amount of graduating student debt: $26,557


Acceptance rate: 62 percent


Average freshman retention rate: 92 percent


University of San Francisco

San Francisco — USFCA.edu 


Academics: USF offers more than 100 majors.


Faith: Programs include retreats, CORe (spirituality) groups, prayer, meditation, student Masses, immersion experiences, and solidarity in action (community service). While rooted in the Jesuit Catholic tradition and Ignatian spirituality, all programs are open to students of all faiths and religious backgrounds. USF partners with Hillel, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, and a local mosque to provide specific worship experiences for Jewish, Christian, and Muslim students as well.


Financial assistance: During the 2015–2016 academic year, 81 percent of all undergraduates were awarded some form of financial aid, averaging $15,911 — including 40 percent who were awarded Pell Grants, averaging $2,340, and 70 percent who were awarded institutional grants or scholarships, averaging $10,298.


Tuition, room and board: $56,284


What’s new: Legendary basketball star Bill Cartwright returned to his alma mater as director of special initiatives in April 2016.


Total number of students and student-faculty ratio: 10,800; 14:1


Average amount of graduating student debt: $33,851


Acceptance rate: 60 percent


Average freshman retention rate: 83 percent


“University ministry is a community full of passionate, kind, dedicated, active, and involved people — people that I can relate to. It is a community that I feel welcomed in.  — Patrick Walsh, ’17, Chicago 


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