Many prospective college students and their parents believe that an ethnically diverse student body enhances the education of every pupil on campus. A university is truly diverse if there are many different ethnic groups enrolled on campus and those groups have around the same percentage of students enrolled. In other words, if a college has only one ethnic group that makes up the vast percentage of its entire student body, it's not very diverse, even though it might have many other ethnic groups represented in very small percentages.
How do we figure out which schools are more diverse than others? Using 2008-2009 academic year data, our campus ethnic diversity mathematical formula produces a diversity index that ranges from 0.0 (entire enrollment is of one racial/ethnic group) to 1.0 (school's enrollment is equally distributed over all racial/ethnic groups). The closer a school's index number is to 1.0, the highest possible value, the more diverse its student population is. Using this approach, we concluded that, for the second year in a row, the most diverse school in the country is Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey–Newark, with a diversity index of 0.74. That means that nearly 3 out of every 4 people you run into there will be from a different ethnic group. Other schools that have a diversity index of 0.70 or higher are the University of Houston (Texas), Polytechnic Institute of New York University, Nova Southeastern University (Florida), CUNY–City College, CUNY–Baruch College, St. Peter's College (New Jersey), CUNY–Brooklyn College, CUNY–Hunter College, California State University–Sacramento, California State University–Dominguez Hills, Houston Baptist University (Texas), California State University–East Bay, La Sierra University (California), Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology (New York), CUNY–New York City College of Technology, and CUNY–York College.
However, many schools have diversity indexes of around 0.10, which means that about 9 out of 10 people you are likely to meet will be from the same race.
We have published the lists of which schools are the most and least ethnically diverse colleges on the free section of our Web site. You can go to these links to see all the schools.
Campus Ethnic Diversity
- National Universities
- Liberal Arts Colleges
- Master's Universities: North
- Master's Universities: South
- Master's Universities: Midwest
- Master's Universities: West
- Baccalaureate Colleges: South
- Baccalaureate Colleges: Midwest
- Baccalaureate Colleges: West
Searching for a college? Get our complete rankings of America's Best Colleges.