UNLV, a Minority Serving Institution, has one of the nation's most diverse undergraduate student populations, according to the 2015 U.S. News & World Report best colleges rankings released today. UNLV is tied with one other university in sixth place. This is the fourth consecutive year UNLV has received this designation.
The report's Campus Ethnic Diversity category identifies colleges where students are most likely to encounter undergraduates from racial or ethnic groups different from their own. Undergraduate student enrollment data from the 2013-2014 school year is used to factor the proportion of minority students and the overall makeup of the campus' student body. A diversity index from 0.0 to 1.0 is assigned to each university. UNLV also tied for sixth last year, though its diversity index increased from 0.72 to 0.73.
As of fall 2013 enrollment figures, more than half (57 percent) of all UNLV undergraduates reported being part of a racial or ethnic minority. Hispanic students make up UNLV's largest minority undergraduate student group at 23 percent.
"The ranking is reflective of UNLV's collaboration with local non-profit groups, the Clark County School District and community partners to recruit, mentor and retain underrepresented and minority undergraduate and graduate students," said Luis Valera, vice president of diversity initiatives and government affairs. "Exposing students to a host of cultural backgrounds enriches the learning experience," Valera said.
UNLV is also embarking on a diversity hiring initiative to build a faculty and staff population reflective of the cultural and ethnic makeup of students. Last year, UNLV launched a new multicultural program initiative to recruit minority students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.
UNLV will participate in a system-wide diversity summit at the College of Southern Nevada Oct. 3 to strengthen efforts related to student success, workforce and economic development, and community engagement.
Categories considered for the diversity index include African-Americans who are non-Hispanic, Hispanic, American Indian, Asian-American, Pacific Islander, whites who are non-Hispanic, and multiracial. The report does not include international students because many universities do not report each international student's ethnicity separately.
UNLV received a Minority Serving Institution (MSI) designation from the U.S. Department of Education in 2012 and is recognized as an emerging Hispanic Serving Institution. Schools named as MSI institutions enroll a high percentage of minority students. UNLV meets the requirements as an Asian-American and Native-American, Pacific Islander-Serving Institution.
Visit U.S. News & World Report to view the complete list of rankings.