UNLV is one of the nation's most diverse campuses for undergraduate students, according to the 2014 U.S. News & World Report best colleges rankings released today. UNLV is tied with two other universities at sixth place, up two spots from last year's rankings. This is the third year UNLV has received this standing.
U.S News & World Report annually ranks the nation's top universities in a variety of categories. The report used undergraduate student enrollment data from the 2012-13 school year and factors in the proportion of minority students and the overall mix of the campus' student body. A diversity index from 0.0 to 1.0 is assigned to each university. UNLV's diversity index was 0.72.
According to the report, the Campus Ethnic Diversity category identifies colleges where students are most likely to encounter undergraduates from racial or ethnic groups different from their own.
As of fall 2012 enrollment figures, 51 percent of all UNLV undergraduate students reported being part of a racial or ethnic minority. Of that, Hispanic students make up the largest minority undergraduate student group at UNLV at 21 percent.
"In the past few years we have focused on creating a caring community which supports the successes of our students and faculty," said Neal Smatresk, UNLV president. "As we celebrate the largest, most talented and most diverse entering class in our history, I want to thank the campus community for coming together and creating one of the most affirmative and dynamic academic environments in the country.
"This ranking continues to show our commitment to serving our wonderfully diverse population and building the future for Las Vegas and Nevada."
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.
"Our ranking is an outcome of the shifting demographics of our state and community," said Luis Valera, interim vice president of government affairs and diversity initiatives. "UNLV is undertaking a faculty diversity hiring initiative so that our faculty reflects its student body. A diverse faculty will enrich the academic experience of our student body."
UNLV received a Minority Serving Institution (MSI) designation from the U.S. Department of Education in December 2012. Schools named as MSI institutions enroll a high percentage of minority students.To receive this designation, institutions must meet specific primary indicators, which include diversity of the student body by race and ethnicity. Other indicators include the number of minority students who qualify for federal assistance including the Pell Grant, Work Study, Perkins Loan or Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant programs.
UNLV meets the requirements as an Asian-American and Native-American, Pacific Islander-Serving Institution and is an emerging Hispanic Serving Institution.
UNLV is home to 52 cultural, ethnic, and religious-based student organizations.
Visit U.S. News & World Report to view the complete list of rankings.