September 08, 2023

Susquehanna University is ranked 71st in The New York Times’ College-Access Index, a list of nearly 300 of the country’s most selective universities ranked in order of their students’ economic diversity.

The College-Access Index primarily measures three components:

  • A university’s percentage of first-year students who receive Pell grants, which are subsidies from the federal government for students with limited financial means to pay for college.
  • A school’s endowment share per student, which measures a school’s total endowment divided by the number of undergraduate students.
  • The net price of attendance, or cost after financial aid is applied, for low- and middle-income families.

To measure top colleges’ efforts on economic diversity, The New York Times worked with experts at Ithaka S+R, a higher-education research group, to analyze data reported as of June 2021 by schools to the Education Department’s National Center for Education Statistics.

The index comes after two significant events this year heightened awareness of the role that wealth plays on college admission: the Supreme Court’s ruling to eliminate race-based affirmative action and certain institutions opting to discontinue or reduce legacy-based admissions. For decades, no student has been denied or granted admission to Susquehanna based upon their race, and the university does not give preference to legacy applicants. The Times Magazine publishers noted that they decided to publish the index to shine a light on the economic diversity of the 286 most selective public and private colleges in the U.S.

According to David Leonhardt, New York Times senior writer, the goal of the index is “to help readers understand which colleges were already enrolling economically diverse classes before the Supreme Court decision — and therefore can serve as a model for others.”