Saint Leo University Named as Best Value in South for 2021 by U.S. News & World

Earns High Rankings for Best Regional University, Best for Veterans, Campus Ethnic Diversity

ST. LEO, FL – Saint Leo University ( was ranked as one of the best values in higher education and one of the best regional universities in the South in 2021 U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges rankings, which was released September 14.

The university moved up to fourth place from last year’s fifth place among Best Value Schools in the South. And among the Best Regional Universities in the South, Saint Leo ranked 26th. 

Saint Leo once again was named a Best for Veterans School among southern regional universities, ranking 14th, the same as last year.

Saint Leo’s diversity was noted by U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges, as the university ranked sixth, up from last year’s rank of seventh, for campus ethnic diversity among regional universities in the south. The university also ranks in the top five for most international students among regional universities in the south.

In the Top Performers on Social Mobility category, Saint Leo ranked 14th among regional universities in the south.

“Being named one of the best values in higher education speaks volumes about what Saint Leo is all about,” said Dr. Jeffrey D. Senese, university president. “Saint Leo offers a high-caliber, private university education at an affordable price along with excellent scholarships and financial aid packages.

“I am proud that Saint Leo again this year was named a best university and a best value university in the South,” Senese continued. “Our rankings demonstrate the commitment of our faculty, staff, and community to our students. I am especially pleased with Saint Leo’s rankings for diversity, veterans’ education, social mobility, and international student education. The university builds on our Catholic tradition of educating and welcoming all. We remain committed to providing the best education at a reasonable cost to students of all races, cultures, religions, and creeds. And we remain committed to our military and student-veterans.”

Those schools included in the regional universities category offer a full range of undergraduate programs and offer graduate programs at the master’s level, according to U.S. News; although, they offer few if any doctoral programs. Saint Leo offers four doctoral degrees, including the Doctor of Business Administration, Doctor of Criminal Justice-Education, Doctor of Criminal Justice-Homeland Security, and Doctor of Education-School Leadership.

The U.S. News Best Colleges rankings, now in its 36th year, help students who plan to pursue a bachelor’s degree, select a university. The latest edition assesses 1,452 U.S. bachelor's degree-granting institutions on 17 measures of academic quality. This year’s rankings considered several factors including: graduation and retention rates; graduate indebtedness; social mobility; faculty resources, which takes into account class size and faculty salary; peer assessment by other universities; financial resources; student excellence, which includes performance on standardized tests and high school class standing; and alumni giving.

The social mobility category measures how well schools graduated students who received federal Pell Grants (those typically coming from households whose family incomes are less than $50,000 annually, though most Pell Grant money goes to students with a total family income below $20,000).

Affordability is important to students when they are choosing a university, and to figure out which institutions offer the best values for students, U.S. News & World Report factors academic quality and cost after accounting for total expenses and financial aid.

For information on 2021 Best Colleges, go to
Photo provided by Saint Leo University
Saint Leo University’s Student Activities Building and Saint Jude Chapel
About Saint Leo University
Saint Leo University is one of the largest Catholic universities in the nation, offering nearly 60 undergraduate and graduate-level degree programs to more than 19,500 students each year. Founded in 1889 by Benedictine monks, the private, nonprofit university is known for providing a values-based education to learners of all backgrounds and ages in the liberal arts tradition. Saint Leo is regionally accredited and offers a residential campus in the Tampa Bay region of Florida, 15 education centers in five states, and an online program for students anywhere. The university is home to more than 95,000 alumni. Learn more at

Media Contact: Mary McCoy, University Writer & Media Relations,, (352) 588-7118 or cell (813) 610-8416