U.S. News Ranks Donnelly College #1 in Ethnic Diversity

Donnelly campus aerial photo showcasing the academic building

For the seventh consecutive year, Donnelly College has been ranked the #1 most ethnically diverse college in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report. Of the 74 Midwest regional colleges included in the 2024 Best Colleges rankings, Donnelly achieved several top 10 distinctions.

Donnelly College achieved the following rankings:

  • Ethnic Diversity of Students – #1 (7th consecutive year) 
  • Least Debt upon Graduation – #3
  • Economic Diversity – #8
  • Social Mobility – #13
  • Most Students 25 & Older – #19 (all colleges) 

Donnelly's 2024 rankings underscore the impact of our nearly 75-year commitment to providing affordable, accessible, faith-based education in the urban core of Kansas City, Kansas. Locally, regionally and nationally, Donnelly is setting the bar in educating students from various ethnic and life backgrounds while helping them graduate with little to no debt, paving the way to economic and social mobility. 


Ranked #1 – Ethnic Diversity of Students (Midwest) 

Donnelly College has achieved this ranking for seven consecutive years and is proud of how the ethnic diversity of our students reflects the diversity of the community. As Kansas City’s only federally designated Hispanic-Serving Institution and Minority-Serving Institution, 85% of our students are students of color. Donnelly is especially proud to celebrate this ranking during National Hispanic Heritage Month. 

Ranked #3 – Least Debt upon Graduation (Midwest) 

Moved up from #7 in 2023 

With tuition under $10,000/year, Donnelly College is accessible to all, not just those with financial resources. As the highest-ranking Kansas college in this category, Donnelly offers generous need- and merit-based scholarships which provide greater access to higher education for individuals across the socioeconomic spectrum.

Ranked #8 – Economic Diversity (Midwest)

Moved up from #12 in 2023 

The economic diversity ranking is based on the percentage of undergraduates who receive federal Pell grants. Typically, students from households earning less than $50,000 qualify for Pell. Over half of Donnelly students (57%) received Pell last year. Like ethnic diversity, economic diversity enriches the classroom experience. 

Ranked #13 – Social Mobility (Midwest) 

Moved up from #18 in 2023 

The social mobility ranking is based on graduation rates for recipients of Pell grants. Donnelly’s high ranking demonstrates our commitment to economically disadvantaged students in the urban core of Kansas City, KS. Nearly 70% of our students will be the first in their family to graduate from college.

Ranked #19 – Most Students 25 & Older (National) 

Not all students plan to attend college right after high school. Over half of Donnelly students (52%) are 25 or older. To best serve our adult learners, Donnelly offers online and hybrid courses in many programs and credit for prior learning and job skills. Traditional undergraduate students benefit from sharing the classroom with those who come to college with workplace, military or life experience. 


“Donnelly's founders, guided by our Catholic faith and Benedictine values, embraced the express mission of providing students a private, Catholic education without needless expense,” said Monsignor Stuart Swetland, president of Donnelly College. “We are proud to continue this mission today and grateful for the national recognition these rankings bring to our work.” 


Want to hear more? 

We would welcome the opportunity to share more about how Donnelly is able to provide affordable, high-quality private education to the traditionally underserved populations that we successfully graduate every year. If you have any questions, please contact Michaela Remijio, Director of Marketing and Communications, mremijio@donnelly.edu or (913) 621-8752.