Donnelly Ranked Nationally for Ethnic Diversity, Economic Diversity and Least Debt

Ethnic Diversity on Campus – Ranked #1
Economic Diversity on Campus – Ranked #3
Least Debt upon Graduation – Ranked #3

In a world plagued by racial inequality, unequal access to opportunity and mounting debt crippling college graduates, there is a bright spot. Donnelly College in the heart of Kansas City, Kansas has been focused on providing a high-quality, accessible and affordable higher education to all who desire one since 1949, regardless of life circumstances including socioeconomic status and race.

“These rankings are an external confirmation that Donnelly College is fulfilling our mission by providing private, affordable, faith-based education focused on the personal dreams, needs and unique abilities of each student, especially those who might not otherwise be served by the higher-education marketplace. We are both proud of our wonderful students and humbled by this recognition of our service to them and to the community,” said Monsignor Stuart Swetland, president of Donnelly College.

U.S. News and World Report has released the 2021 Best Colleges rankings. For the Midwest region, Donnelly College achieved the following rankings:


Ranked #1 - Most Ethnically Diverse College in the Midwest

Donnelly College has achieved this ranking for 4 consecutive years as is proud of the ethnic diversity of our students. The diversity of our campus represents the community in which Donnelly is located and has for the last 73 years. In addition, the diversity found at Donnelly adds a richness and depth to the educational environment that is unmatched. As the region’s only federally designated Hispanic-Serving Institution and Minority-Serving Institution, more than 80% of our students are students of color.

We are especially proud to celebrate this ranking during National Hispanic Heritage Month and National Hispanic-Serving Institutions Week.


Ranked #3 - Least Debt upon Graduation for Colleges in the Midwest

Donnelly College prides itself on affordability and ample scholarships offerings which provide greater access to higher education for individuals across the socioeconomic spectrum, as well as the opportunity for students to graduate with as little debt as possible.

For this ranking, U.S. News and World Report looked at the average amount of debt taken out by students from the federal government who graduated in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree. For Donnelly College, the median federal loan graduate indebtedness was $9,373. According to, the national debt average for a 2018 graduate with a bachelor’s degree was $29,200.


Ranked #3 - Economic Diversity for College in the Midwest

Donnelly College is accessible to all, not just those with financial resources. In fact, the average annual household income for our students is just under $30,000, and more than 80% are first in their family to attend college.

For this ranking, U.S. News and World Report looked at the percent of students that receive the Pell grant. 70% of Donnelly’s students receive the Pell grant. As U.S. News and World Reports suggests, while imperfect, the percentage of students receiving the Pell grant can be an indication of economic diversity on campus as low-income students have traditionally had difficulty accessing higher education. Economic diversity adds the same richness and perspective that ethnic diversity does in the classroom, and in an indicator that all are welcome at an institution.

How Does Donnelly Do It?

There is a story to tell. Donnelly College is unique in the higher education landscape. Many ask how Donnelly can provide a high-quality private education with such low tuition (under $8,000 per year for full-time study) to the traditionally underserved populations that we successfully graduate every year. We would love to talk with you more about this and our students.