2017 Catholic Digest College Guide

Assumption College students on campus

Each fall thousands of students head off to college for the first time, pursuing a dream or simply the opportunity to grow as a person academically and spiritually. The spiritual aspect is where Catholic higher education plays an important role. In our annual College Guide this year, Catholic Digest offers an overview of just some the many Catholic higher education institutions in the United States. When choosing a college, we hope you keep in mind these words from St. John Paul II:

A Catholic university pursues its objectives through its formation of an authentic human community animated by the spirit of Christ. The source of its unity springs from a common dedication to the truth, a common vision of the dignity of the human person, and, ultimately, the person and message of Christ which gives the institution its distinctive character (Ex Corde Ecclesiae, 21)



Assumption College

Worcester, Massachusetts — Assumption.edu

Assumption College President Francesco Cesareo with students

Academics: Founded in 1904 by the Augustinians of the Assumption in Worcester, Massachusetts, Assumption College is a Catholic liberal arts institution that offers undergraduate students 40 majors in the liberal arts, sciences, business, and professional studies; as well as master’s and continuing education degrees and professional certificate programs — each program grounded in the rich Catholic intellectual tradition.

Faith: Campus ministry’s mission is carried out through Catholic liturgies and prayer services, retreats to further spiritual development, community service throughout the world, discussion groups, and other programs. Each and every student is encouraged to explore and understand his or her personal faith tradition.

Financial assistance: Merit-based and need-based grants, athletic scholarships, other scholarships. Ninety-nine percent of students receive some form of financial aid.

  • Tuition: $38,850
  • Average amount of student debt: N/A
  • Undergraduate enrollment: 1,976 (fall 2016)
  • Student-faculty ratio: 11:1
  • Acceptance rate: 79.6 percent
  • Average freshman retention rate: 84 percent
  • Graduation rate: 72 percent
  • Did you know? The college has a campus in Rome.

The Catholic University of America

Students on the campus of Catholic University of America

Washington, D.C.—CUA.edu

Academics: The Catholic University of America is a national research university with 12 schools, over 120 academic programs, and 26 research facilities three miles from Capitol Hill. All undergraduates participate in the First-Year Experience (FYE), an introduction to the life of the mind through coursework and activities rooted in the liberal arts and the Catholic intellectual tradition. Within learning communities, students take a sequence of four core classes in philosophy, theology, and English. The FYE also goes beyond the classroom with service learning activities, class-based excursions into Washington, D.C., an annual speaker series, and one-on-one academic advising.

Faith: There are daily Masses on campus. Several priests and religious live and serve in residence halls. There are numerous opportunities for service through campus ministry, which offers mission trips, retreats, and faith-based student groups, as well as several other programs.

Financial assistance: More than 90 percent of full-time, degree-seeking undergraduate students receive some form of financial aid. The Office of Student Financial Assistance awards more than $57 million in institutional grants and scholarships as well as more than $2 million in federal and state grant funds to undergraduate students. The Office of Student Financial Assistance also processes undergraduate student loans.

  • Tuition: $43,300; engineering and architecture students: $43,860
  • Average amount of student debt: $46,779
  • Undergraduate enrollment: 3,241 (fall 2016)
  • Student-faculty ratio: 10:1
  • Acceptance rate: 79.6 percent
  • Average freshman retention rate: 84 percent
  • Graduation rate: 68 percent (four-year graduation rate)

Did you know? Biomedical engineering professor Otto Wilson teaches his students the ancient paper-folding art of origami. Using specially treated paper, Wilson hopes it may one day be possible to fold paper to make replacement organs for the human body.

“As a student, someone who is preparing to go out and contribute to the world, you have a responsibility to make sure your generation values respect for others. It’s not enough to think, ‘How can I advance?’ You have to also ask yourself, ‘How can I help those around me to advance?’” — Gabby Fuentes, Austin, Texas


Christendom College

Front Royal, Virginia — Christendom.edu

Christendom College is in the Shenandoah River Valley.

Academics: Christendom College is a Catholic liberal arts college offering a time-tested and rigorous education that develops the students’ intellect in such a way that graduates possess the ability to master any subject. The curriculum and faculty are complemented by a culture of personal attention helping each student discern and develop his academic and vocational goals. The students thrive in a supportive and Christ-centered culture dedicated to helping them realize their potential and become the great men and women God has called them to be. Graduates are inspired and empowered to achieve true greatness and become tomorrow’s leaders.

Faith: The college offers Masses several times daily, offered in both the Ordinary and Extraordinary Form. Reconciliation, as well as a daily Rosary and Adoration, are available. Students can take part in many service projects as well, everything from working with the homeless in Washington, D.C. to doing spring break mission trips abroad, to fighting for the rights of the unborn, to visiting the sick and elderly at local nursing homes.

Financial assistance: Christendom offers need-based and merit-based financial assistance, as well as sibling and legacy discounts. Students can earn extra money through on-campus employment, or by working in the local area. While Christendom does not participate in federal funding programs, in the interest of teaching the fullness of Catholic doctrine without fear of government interference, it is still able to offer financial assistance to more than 70 percent of its students each year.

  • Tuition: $24,710
  • Average amount of student debt: $27,005
  • Undergraduate enrollment: 479
  • Student-faculty ratio: 15:1
  • Acceptance rate: 85 percent
  • Average freshman retention rate: 85 percent
  • Graduation rate: 69 percent

Did you know? The historic Shenandoah River is in Christendom’s backyard — literally. Students are able to take a five-minute walk down to the river anytime throughout the academic year. For those who just want to gaze upon its majesty, the college has numerous scenic overlooks throughout the campus.

“The core curriculum is one of the greatest things about Christendom. Knowledge cannot be sorted and shoved in a drawer like a bunch of different colored socks. True, each subject area deserves its own study and can be rewarding on its own. But study them all together, see how they are interwoven, and develop the philosophical habit of mind promoted by Cardinal Newman — that’s the best kind of education, because your world comes into focus and expands at the same time. — Laura Cermak, McLean, Virginia


Northeast Catholic College

Warner, New Hampshire NortheastCatholic.edu

Students walk along the Northeast Catholic College campus.

Academics: Five majors are available: theology, politics, literature, philosophy, and the Great Books. The core course of studies includes a four-year philosophy and humanities sequence of seminars, an optional summer course of studies in Rome and Norcia, three years of theology leading to an apostolic catechetical diploma, two years of Latin and additional courses in science, logic, geometry, writing, non-Western cultures, music, and art. Students complete a junior project based on their major and in their senior year complete comprehensive exams, with the option to write a senior thesis.

Faith: Mass and reconciliation are offered six days per week. No classes are held during Mass times. The Rosary is prayed daily in the Chapel or residence halls, and exposition and Adoration are offered twice a week. Both the men’s and women’s residences have chapels in which the Blessed Sacrament is reserved. Students gather for morning and evening prayer and sing Compline in their residences. The Traditional Latin Mass is offered once per week, and the Melkite Divine Liturgy is offered once per semester.

Financial assistance: Northeast Catholic College is committed to making it possible for all eligible students to finance their education. Financial aid may come in the form of need-based grants, merit-based scholarships, or a combination of both. Ninety-five percent of students receive financial aid and the average net price per student is $14,244. A $20,000 scholarship (over four years) is offered to graduates of Catholic high school and Catholic homeschool programs. In addition to academic scholarships, NCC offers a service-based scholarship that includes all-expense paid mission trip (trips have included the Dominican Republic and Guatemala).

  • Tuition: $23,400
  • Average amount of student debt: $18,186
  • Total number of students: 90
  •  Student-faculty ratio: 7:1
  • Acceptance rate: 85 percent
  • Average freshman retention rate: 94 percent
  • Graduation rate: 72 percent

Did you know? The entire school celebrates Bilbo Baggins’ birthday.

“Northeast Catholic College is strongly rooted in Our Lord and his Church, in the sacraments, in the classes, [and] in the students themselves. I recognized that Christ was truly the center of the college’s focus.” — Sean Haefner, Alstead, New Hampshire


Saint Francis University

Loretto, Pennsylvania — Francis.edu

Academics: As the first Franciscan university in the nation, Saint Francis University has been has educating competent, caring professionals for 170 years. The private, Catholic, coeducational institution founded by the Franciscan Friars of the Third Order Regular, welcomes students of all faiths and currently enrolls more than 2,600 students from more than 20 countries. Saint Francis University offers more than 60 undergraduate majors and concentrations through four distinct academic schools. Each school combines classroom curriculum with embedded research and outreach centers for in-depth experiences.

Faith: Students enjoy varied opportunities to practice their faith. Faith-based student organizations such as Catholic Daughters of America, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Knights of Columbus, Cru and F.I.R.E. Starters are available. Student Peer Campus Ministers work to enrich the pastoral care of their fellow student community members. Additionally numerous service opportunities are available for students to extend their servant leadership involvement. Daily Masses are available to students.

Financial assistance: Approximately 98 percent of the Saint Francis University student body receives financial aid. In addition to participating in federal and state need-based student aid programs, Saint Francis University offers its own substantial grant program and a generous scholarship program that is based on SAT or ACT scores, high school average, and class rank. Academic awards range from $1,000 to $16,000 annually.

  • Tuition: $33,856
  • Average amount of student debt: $34,188
  • Total number of students: 2,668
  • Student-faculty ratio: 13:1
  • Acceptance rate: 70 percent
  • Average freshman retention rate: 81 percent
  • Graduation rate: 67.6 percent

Did you know? In fall 2016, following a year-long $7 million renovation and expansion project, Schwab Hall welcomed students once more, this time reimagined as home to The Shields School of Business. The project was funded entirely by donations from alumni and friends of the university.

I will always remember my experiences here and all the friendships I made over four years, not only with the students, but with the faculty and staff here as well.” — Marc Anthony Honore, San Fernando, California


Seton Hall University

South Orange, New Jersey — SHU.edu

Students on the steps of Seton Hall’s Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology

Academics: One of the country’s leading Catholic universities, Seton Hall University has been developing students in mind, heart and spirit since 1856. Seton Hall University’s Core Curriculum is an approach to general education that encourages students to become thinking, caring, communicative and ethically responsible leaders with a commitment to service. The Core Curriculum consists of six common courses, as well as the systematic development of five academic proficiencies through the study of the liberal arts and sciences. Seton Hall University offers academic programs through nine schools and colleges: College of Arts & Sciences, College of Communication and the Arts, Stillman School of Business, Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology, School of Diplomacy and International Relations, College of Nursing, College of Education And Human Services, School of Health and Medical Sciences and School of Law.

Faith: Eucharist Adoration is offered in our historic and beautiful Chapel of the Immaculate Conception. The Office of Mission and Ministry is charged with promoting Seton Hall’s Catholic mission. They work to infuse Catholic values, faith and intellectual heritage throughout the university and help promote the university’s efforts at developing servant leaders. A key part of our Catholic mission is community service. We believe that getting involved in the community teaches lessons that can’t be taught in any classroom. All students complete at least 10 hours of community service during their first semester.

Financial assistance: Ninety-eight percent of undergraduate students receive financial aid. Each year, approximately $83 million Seton Hall dollars are given to students. All students at Seton Hall are automatically considered for a scholarship at the point of admission based on their academic record. In addition, there are many other scholarship opportunities available at Seton Hall. These are specialized awards for students with specific interests or talents, like pre-med students or students with a strong record of community service, those interested in our debate team or pep band, or children of alumni, to name a few.

  • Tuition cost: $38,400
  • Average amount of student debt: N/A
  • Total number of students: 9,836
  • Student-faculty ratio: 13:1
  • Acceptance rate: 67 percent (fall 2016)
  •  Average freshman retention rate: 85 percent
  •  Graduation rate: 64 percent

 Did you know? The university’s namesake — Elizabeth Ann Seton — is the first American-born saint.



Benedictine College

Atchison, Kansas — Benedictine.edu

Candlelight illuminates Mary’s Grotto in the heart of the Benedictine College campus.

 Academics: Benedictine College offers 50 undergraduate degrees and has one of the largest undergraduate theology programs in the nation. The college recently added architecture, making it one of only four Catholic colleges in America to offer architecture and one of only three to offer both architecture and engineering (chemical, civil, electrical and mechanical). In addition, the college is celebrating a Century of Science, marking 100 years since it first offered science degrees. In conjunction with that, the Science & Engineering building is undergoing a massive remodel, and a 40,000 square foot addition is being added to the 60,000 square foot existing building. Finally, Benedictine College is building an observatory on a high ridge west of campus, which will enhance the Physics & Astronomy Department offerings and allow the college to do science outreach within the community.

Faith: Benedictine College offers a wide variety of opportunities for students to practice their faith, from daily Masses to mission trips through one of the most successful campus ministry programs in the country. With FOCUS, SPO, Varsity Catholic and CLU organizations on campus, there are many opportunities for Bible study and faith formation. There are now four chapels on campus, three of them in residence halls. The monks of St. Benedict’s Abbey and the Sisters of Mount St. Scholastica Monastery — the college’s founding institutions — add to the extensive programming, and the two churches adjacent to campus offer even more opportunities.

Financial assistance: Benedictine College offers federal and state scholarships and/or grants, institutional awards such as endowed scholarships, merit based scholarships, tuition funded grants, etc., and athletic scholarships. Currently, 99 percent of the student body receives some amount of financial aid.

  • Tuition cost: $27,730
  • Average amount of student debt: $30,000
  • Total undergraduate enrollment: 1,924
  • Student-faculty ratio: 14:1
  • Acceptance rate: 98 percent
  • Average freshman retention rate: 90 percent
  • Graduation rate: 63 percent

Did you know? The college is one of the few that still has a beanie tradition, and incoming freshmen and transfer students wear beanies for the first week of school to build camaraderie within the group and help identify those who are new on campus to faculty, staff, and other students. Another tradition is the annual Consecration to Mary, sponsored by Benedictine College Mission and Ministry. Beginning in October with a presentation about the consecration, students are invited to give their lives to Christ through Mary.

“I’ve always wanted to be an architect. I wanted to go to a Catholic school and a liberal arts school, and Benedictine is kind of the only one [that also has architecture]. It’s as good as it gets!” — Isabella DeBenedetti, Tulsa, Oklahoma


Quincy University

Quincy, Illinois — Quincy.edu

Quincy University students

Academics: The university offers academic programs in business, education, fine arts and communication, science and technology, behavioral and social sciences, and humanities.

Faith: Quincy University Campus Ministry, with the Catholic-Christian and Franciscan traditions as our guides, seeks to reach out to all community members, wherever they may be in their journey of faith. We promote a Christ-centered community where all are welcome, and where everyone’s physical, intellectual, and spiritual gifts are valued. Mass is celebrated twice on Sundays and once Monday through Fridays. Students are invited to do mission trips around country multiple times during the year and a campus wide day of service is held each fall. There are several non-denominational groups and gatherings that happen on campus every week. Multiple Bible studies take place on campus each week.

Financial assistance: Federal, state, and institutional aid; merit aid; need aid, self-help

  • Tuition: $26,540
  • Average amount of student debt: $27,000 (2013–14)
  • Total number of students: 1,328
  • Student-faculty ratio: 15:1
  • Acceptance rate: 66 percent
  • Average freshman retention rate: 64 percent
  • Graduation rate: 33 percent (four-year); 50 percent (six-year)

Did you know? The university’s north campus used to be a seminary.

“QU is a fun and welcoming place to go to college. It has been a great asset for me in completing my educational goal of receiving my bachelor’s degree in American sign language interpretation.” — Amber Williams, Tinley Park, Illinois


Silver Lake College of the Holy Family

Manitowoc, Wisconsin — SL.edu

Athletes at Silver Lake College

Academics: Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, Silver Lake College of the Holy Family is a liberal arts college in Manitowoc, Wisc. The college offers graduate‐level degrees in three areas: master of arts in education; master of science in leadership and organizational development; and master of education in music with a Kodály emphasis.

Faith: The college’s campus ministry program offers opportunities for student leadership in service and interfaith dialogue. Students have plenty of opportunities for living their faith through service to the college and the community. This includes taking part in mission trips; doing volunteer work at area schools, nursing homes and shelters; sharing their faith through music; and performing service work through campus organizations such as the Multicultural Club and the Student United Way. Central to the campus is a chapel with regular Masses. The Peace Pole Garden is dedicated to promoting a culture of peace, one of the college’s five Franciscan cultural principles.

Financial assistance: Federal, state, and institutional aid is available. All full-time undergraduate students receive financial aid.

  • Tuition cost: $26,800
  • Average amount of student debt: $23,344
  • Undergraduate enrollment: Approximately 200 full-time degree-seeking undergraduates annually, averaging 50 freshmen
  • Student-faculty ratio: 8:1
  • Acceptance rate: 55 percent
  • Average freshman retention rate: 70 percent
  • Graduation rate: 44 percent (6 years)

Did you know? As a condition of enrollment, all residential students are required to work while they earn a college degree. The initiative helps students obtain practical on-the-job training, build their résumés, learn workforce skills, and reduce their student debt.

“I love the close-knit environment and the fact that Silver Lake College is a small school. I personally have had so many opportunities and personal successes throughout my time here so far.” — Danelle Buck, Newton, Wisconsin


Saint Louis University

St. Louis, Missouri — SLU.edu

Fred P. Pestello, president of St. Louis University, with students on campus

Academics: Founded in 1818, Saint Louis University is a world-class Jesuit, Catholic university. SLU offers nearly 90 undergraduate programs and more than 100 graduate and professional programs, with many ranked among the nation’s top-50 programs in their respective disciplines. One of only nine Catholic universities with a “high” or “highest” research activity designation, SLU empowers students to collaborate with faculty mentors on groundbreaking research and gain hands-on experience.

Faith: SLU follows the Jesuit traditions of educating the whole person — mind, body and spirit — and preparing students to make the world a better place. Students are encouraged to explore their faith through retreats; service opportunities; prayer and faith-sharing groups; interfaith dialogue; and Mass, which is offered on campus throughout the week.

Financial assistance: Eighty-nine percent of students received financial aid in 2016. Available financial aid programs include scholarships, grants, loans, and work opportunities.

  • Tuition: $41,540
    Average amount of student debt: About half of SLU’s undergraduates afford their education with no federal student loans.  
  • Total number of students: 12,949
  •  Student-faculty ratio: 9:1
  • Acceptance rate: 62 percent
  • Average freshman retention rate: 91 percent
  • Graduation rate: 77 percent

Did you know? The university ranks fourth on Washington Monthly’s list of universities that participate in community service. Annually, members of the university community engage in 1.6 million volunteer hours.

“If you are looking for spiritual growth, there are innumerable opportunities at SLU. Students and faculty show true interest in your holistic development; they want you to be satisfied and challenged not only academically, but also spiritually, emotionally, socially, and physically.”  — Meredith Walker, Pittsburgh



Our Lady of the Lake University

San Antonio, Texas — OLLUSA.edu

Students attend weekday Mass in Constantineau Chapel.

Academics: Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU) offers more than 60 undergraduate majors and minors. Top programs include biology, cybersecurity, criminal justice, communication and learning disorders, social work and psychology.

Faith: Mass is celebrated four times per week on campus. In addition to attending Mass, students have the opportunity to volunteer by being cantors, lectors, choir members, altar servers or extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion. Students also have the opportunity to take part in faith sharing groups, and to connect with the Sisters of the Congregation of Divine Providence, who founded the university, through various ministry outreach programs and mission trips. Many students join the Sisters of Divine Providence associates program and become lay members of the congregation.

Financial assistance: Institutional aid, scholarships, grants, and loans are available. Eighty-two percent of students receive financial aid.

  • Tuition cost: $27,364
  • Average amount of student debt: $29,381
  • Total number of students: 3,130
  •  Student-faculty ratio 10:1
  • Acceptance rate: 55 percent
  • Average freshman retention rate: 57 percent
  • Graduation rate: N/A

Did you know? The university’s first apartment-style residence hall will be opening at the beginning of the 2017 fall semester. Features include full-size kitchens, a fitness and yoga center, study lounges, student meeting rooms, and a picnic and garden area overlooking Lake Elmendorf.

“There’s the saying, ‘We create ourselves as we go,’ and I feel that I have found myself here at OLLU. This university has shaped me into the intellectual and spiritual person that I am today. The relationships and experiences that I have made are a significant part of me, and I will forever carry these memories with me as I go.” — Monique Davis, El Paso, Texas



Spring Hill College

Mobile, Alabama — SHC.edu

Spring Hill College’s campus

Academics: Spring Hill College offers undergraduate majors and areas of concentration alongside a Jesuit, liberal arts core curriculum. Graduate programs in nursing, liberal arts, business and theology are also available. Our commitment to providing our students with exceptional academic experiences — both in the classroom and as part of the co-curricular learning environment — are part of our Jesuit and Catholic mission of caring for and forming the whole person.


Faith: A variety of opportunities are available for students to grow in their faith. Liturgy is offered twice a day (excluding Saturday) and culminates in an evening Mass on Sunday, attended and led primarily by students. The resident Jesuit priests preside at the liturgies, are available for regular confessions, and offer spiritual direction to students and staff. The campus ministry team provides a variety of staff-led and student-led retreat experiences, forms students in the faith by means of Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, special programs, and outreach in cooperation with student organizations and residence life. Campus ministry also emphasizes the integral relationship between faith and justice by offering opportunities for students to serve the marginalized and advocate on their behalf — both on and off campus. Each year, approximately 70 students, faculty and staff participate in international and domestic service immersion trips.

Financial assistance: At Spring Hill, 98.3 percent of students receive financial aid. Forms of aid include scholarships, grants, federal loans and work-study assignments. The average financial aid package for freshmen in need is $35,219, with 76.4 percent awarded in the forms of scholarships and grants, and 23.6 percent awarded as loans and student employment.

  • Tuition cost: $35,312
  • Average amount of student debt: $27,000
  • Total number of students: 1,439
  • Student-faculty ratio: 14:1
  • Acceptance rate: 41 percent
  • Average freshman retention rate: 77 percent
  • Graduation rate: N/A

Did you know? Constructed in 1890, Stan Galle Field is the oldest continually used college baseball field in the nation. Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron both played exhibition games here during their careers.

“Ultimately, Spring Hill College has given me the strong academic background to pursue a career in medicine and science but also have the ability to pursue lifelong learning in a way that incorporates multiple disciplines and passions into a life filled with purpose and constant growth, no matter where my career or life direct me next.” — Paige Guillory, Baton Rouge, Louisiana



Saint Leo University

St. Leo, Florida — SaintLeo.edu

Passard Dean, professor of accounting and finance, teaches at Saint Leo University.

Academics: Established in 1889 by the Order of Saint Benedict of Florida, Saint Leo University is a Catholic, liberal arts school, recognized as one of the top-ranked regional universities in the South by U.S. News and World Report. The Tampa-area campus is committed to making higher education more accessible to all. Saint Leo offers 52 majors. Popular majors include biology with an emphasis on biomedical and health services; elementary education; business; criminal justice; psychology; sport business; marketing; accounting; cybersecurity; and computer science.

Faith: Students may practice their faith throughout the week starting with 7 p.m., Sunday Mass at the Abbey Church followed by Community Night. Additionally, Saint Leo offers a 10 p.m. “last chance” Mass in a residence hall. Daily Mass is at noon in Saint Jude Chapel. On Tuesday evenings, students may join the Benedictines at Mass to experience 1,500 years of monastic tradition and encounter the community that founded the university. On Wednesday evenings, there is Eucharistic Exposition in the Abbey Church. Two Bible studies — one for women and one for men — are conducted on Thursdays. University ministry also offers a retreat per semester.

Financial assistance: Institutional grants and scholarships, and athletic scholarships are available. Ninety-seven percent of students receive some form of financial aid.

  • Tuition cost: $21,600
  • Average amount of student debt: $18,590
  • Total number of students 2,264 (students attending St. Leo, Florida, campus; does not include online students)
  • Student-faculty ratio: 14:1
  • Acceptance rate: 70 percent
  • Average freshman retention rate: 72 percent
  • Graduation rate: 40 percent

Did you know? The university is ranked among the nation’s most military-friendly institutions by Military Advanced Education and G.I. Jobs magazines.

“Attending Saint Leo means so much to me because I know I will leave this university a better person and a better Catholic. The values and lessons taught here at Saint Leo are very impactful and life-changing. The strong Catholic foundation I have developed throughout my childhood will continue to grow, thanks to my being a part of the culture and community at Saint Leo University.” — Amanda James, St. Charles, Illinois


St. Thomas University

Miami Gardens, Florida — STU.edu

St. Thomas University School of Law

Academics: St. Thomas University, founded in 1961, is a private, nonprofit, Catholic university that focuses on developing leadership skills in the classroom and beyond. Its 150-acre campus is located in the Miami area. STU provides degrees that are designed to produce most sought-after graduates and are high-demand in contemporary industries. STU’s portfolio includes 35 undergraduate majors, 27 graduate majors, 5 doctoral programs and one professional law program. STU is a nonprofit, student-centered school, known for its personalized private education.

Faith: On-campus facilities include Chapel of St. Anthony and campus ministry.

Financial assistance: The university offers many scholarship options, and 93 percent of students receive scholarships.

  • Tuition cost: $28,800
  • Average amount of student debt: N/A
  • Total number of students: 4,674
  •  Student-faculty ratio: 12:1
  • Acceptance rate: 45 percent
  • Average freshman retention rate: 57 percent
  • Graduation rate: 41 percent

Did you know? South Florida Business Journal ranks St. Thomas University in the top three of south Florida universities producing the highest-earning graduates.

 “St. Thomas University has opened doors for me to a whole new world and provided me with the college life beyond my imagination. For the past three years, I have been able to grow as a student and as a professional. In the classroom, my professors were so engaged that it almost felt like I was receiving private lessons.” — Juan Zambrano, Venezuela


 The University of Dallas

Irving, Texas — UDallas.edu

University of Dallas students celebrate Groundhog Day.

Academics: From art to computer science, from biology to the classics, from drama to theology, the University of Dallas is a Catholic institution that offers a wide variety of rigorous academic programs designed around the ideals of a liberal education. The foundation of the undergraduate academic program is the Core curriculum, a series of 19 courses in philosophy, history, literature, science, theology, mathematics, politics, economics, language and fine arts taken by all undergraduates. The university is also distinguished from other institutions by its flagship Rome program in which students have an opportunity to study abroad for a semester from its Eugene Constantin Campus near Rome.

Faith: The Church of the Incarnation, nestled in the center of UD’s campus, celebrates Mass twice daily Monday through Thursday and Sunday; during the academic year, Mass is celebrated three times daily. A daily Mass is also celebrated Friday and Saturday. Reconciliation is available Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

Financial assistance: Scholarships, grants, work-study, and loans are available for students; 96 percent of students receive scholarships and/or need-based financial aid.

  • Tuition cost: $36,000
  • Average amount of student debt: $33,493
  • Undergraduate enrollment: 1,407 (fall 2016)
  • Student-faculty ratio: 10:1
  • Acceptance rate: 43 percent (fall 2016)
  • Average freshman retention rate: 83 percent
  • Graduation rate: 70 percent

Did you know? The university boasts the nation’s second largest Groundhog Day celebration.

 “I stand firmer in my faith, I carry myself with confidence, and I’m surrounded by people who encourage me not to settle for anything but the best. I can’t think of another place where you gain all of these things plus an incredible education.” — Sarah Webster, Birmingham, Alabama


The University of St. Thomas

Chapel of St. Basil at the University of St. Thomas in Houston

Houston, Texas — StThom.edu

Academics: The University of St. Thomas offers 36 undergraduate degree programs, 10 pre-professional programs and 19 graduate degree programs in the liberal arts, sciences, and more. These programs are offered through five schools: the School of Arts & Sciences, the Cameron School of Business, the School of Education & Human Services, the Carol and Odis Peavy School of Nursing, and the School of Theology at St. Mary’s Seminary.

Faith: The university’s campus ministry oversees the daily Mass at the Chapel of St. Basil on campus, as well as confessions. Several events are hosted throughout the year, including special celebrations during holidays.

Financial assistance: Scholarships, grants, work-study, and loans are available. More than 90 percent of students receive some form of financial aid.

  • Tuition cost: $32,660
  • Average amount of student debt: $36,924
  • Total number of students: 3,312
  •  Student-faculty ratio: 10:1
  • Acceptance rate: 77 percent
  • Average freshman retention rate: 84 percent
  • Graduation rate: 60 percent

Did you know? Hughes House, one of the buildings on campus that currently houses the theology department, was the boyhood home of billionaire Howard Hughes.

“The curriculum at UST is really broad. We get the whole spectrum here, and that’s something that helped me to have a good perspective when I’m doing research because approaching problems from multiple angles helps.” — Holly Merta, Rosenberg, Texas



Dominican University of California

San Rafael, California — Dominican.edu

Health science and nursing students train using state-of-the-art clinical simulation labs at Dominican University of California.

Academics: Dominican University of California is an independent university offering the best of the liberal arts combined with rigorous professional education. The university offers more than 50 academic programs that reflect the diversity and creativity of the faculty and students. With more than 1,843 graduate and undergraduate students and a student to faculty ratio of 10:1, Dominican is able to successfully blend personal attention with academic and support resources to enrich the student experience.


Faith: Mass is celebrated Sunday through Thursday in the university’s St. Catherine Benincasa Chapel and on Friday in the neighboring Lourdes Convent Chapel. Students, faculty, and staff participate together in liturgical and spiritual services. Shared ministries include Eucharistic ministers, lectors, and musicians/cantors. Campus ministry welcomes all students to participate in many programs and activities, including hikes, movie nights, faith sharing groups, retreats, beach days, and service opportunities.

Financial assistance: Ninety-two percent of undergraduate students receive federal and state financial aid in the following forms: scholarships, grants, loans, and federal work-study.

  • Tuition cost: $44,240
  • Average amount of student debt: $36,934
  • Total number of students: 1,843
  •  Student-faculty ratio: 10:1
  • Acceptance rate: 79 percent
  • Average freshman retention rate: 87 percent
  • Graduation rate: 68 percent

Did you know? In the 1970s, a group of students petitioned the administration for a new mascot for the school’s athletic program. At that time, the Dominican sisters wore long habits and veils, resembling penguins. Sr. Samuel Conlan, then president of Dominican University, agreed to the change — but only if there were a unanimous vote of approval by the entire student body. The vote passed unanimously, and Sr. Samuel made good on her word. Go Penguins!



John Paul the Great Catholic University

Escondido, California — JPCatholic.edu

John Paul the Great Catholic University commencement, 2015

Academics: The university offers programs in creative media, business, humanities, and theology, all steeped in the Catholic intellectual tradition. Areas of emphasis include film production, screenwriting, animation, game development, journalism, creative writing, acting, and creative entrepreneurship.

 Faith: Daily Mass, daily Rosary, confession, spiritual direction, Eucharistic Adoration, households, retreats, praise and worship, community service, and outreach are offered.

Financial assistance: Generous merit-based and need-based scholarship packages are available. Ninety-seven percent of students receive institutional aid. Pell Grants and Cal Grants are also accepted.

  • Tuition cost: $32,000
  • Average amount of student debt: N/A
  • Total number of students: 343
  •  Student-faculty ratio: 17:1
  • Acceptance rate: 92 percent
  • Average freshman retention rate: 70 percent
  • Graduation rate: 67 percent

Did you know? In 2011 the film Red Line was filmed by students and faculty in the university’s soundstage and went on to be distributed via Netflix, Redbox, and internationally with video on demand.

The quality of education here at JP Catholic is something to marvel at. This is a place where working industry professionals teach you how to excel on a professional and personal level. It is an incredible experience, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”  — Charles Baines, Boise, Idaho



Regis University

Denver, Colorado — Regis.edu

Regis University campus

Academics: Regis University has five colleges with more than 200 degree and certificate programs at the undergraduate and graduate level. Some of our most popular programs include criminology, pharmacy, physical therapy, cybersecurity, nonprofit management, environmental biology and music performance.

Faith: Regis University has a very active university ministry program that offers many services such as daily Mass, youth groups, retreats and service learning opportunities. Regis University offers a Catholic studies minor and has a religious studies requirement that encourages discovery of individual direction through key courses such as: global environmental awareness, ethics and multiculturalism, religion and the human quest, and interfaith dialogue.

Financial assistance: Ninety-two percent of students receive financial aid. The average grant of scholarship aid undergraduate students received in 2016–17 was $22,000.

  • Tuition: $34,100
  • Average amount of student debt: $28,274
  • Total number of students: 11,441
  •  Student-faculty ratio: 14:1
  • Acceptance rate: 57 percent (fall 2016)
  • Average freshman retention rate: 78 percent
  • Graduation rate: 73 percent

Did you know? The university will commemorate the 140th anniversary of its founding in fall 2017.

“In a world where a lot is in question, Regis has kept true to its Jesuit Catholic identity. God is not omitted from anything but is embraced in everything we do. I’m proud to know that my university is fulfilling God’s mission by focusing on making everyone’s lives better.”Mary Rose Diefenderfer, Bellingham, Washington

Santa Clara University

Santa Clara, California, SCU.edu

Vari Hall, which opened in 1998, is home to Santa Clara’s largest undergraduate college. It has state-of-the-art television production studios, classrooms, offices, meeting rooms, and the office of the dean. The Markkula Center for Applied Ethics is also located on the ground floor.

Academics: More than 50 majors, minors, and special programs for law, medicine, and teaching through The College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Engineering, and the Leavey School of Business. Professors are as dedicated to teaching as they are to their own research and scholarship. Community-based coursework, internships, and independent research, all while being immersed in the innovation, energy, and opportunity of Silicon Valley is part of the educational experience.

Faith: The Jesuit tradition is about educating the whole person — mind, body, and soul — and preparing students to create a more just, humane, and sustainable world. Nearly every program on campus incorporates some aspect of Jesuit values, from our core curriculum and cultural immersion programs to interfaith dinner discussions and ethics workshops for local teachers. Students are asked to make the connection between their heads and their hearts.

Financial assistance: Need-based and merit-based assistance is available. Seventy-three percent of students receive financial aid.

  • Tuition cost: $49,233
  • Average amount of student debt: $27,385
  • Total number of students: 1,317
  •  Student-faculty ratio: 11:1
  • Acceptance rate: 48 percent
  • Average freshman retention rate: 96 percent
  • Graduation rate: 84 percent

Did you know? Santa Clara is the oldest institution of higher education in California.

“I have found my passion in positive societal impact, and my future is being paved by actively participating in the SCU community. Over the years, my personal mission has aligned with SCU’s: to strive to be a leader of competence, conscience, and compassion in order to do my part for a more humane, just, and sustainable world. It’s an added bonus that the campus is ridiculously gorgeous.”— Esther Bartlett, Santa Clara, California

Thomas Aquinas College

Santa Paula, California — ThomasAquinas.edu

A typical classroom at Thomas Aquinas College, with students gathered around a table, actively engaged in discussion about the Great Books.

Academics: Thomas Aquinas College offers just one course of studies culminating in a bachelor of arts in liberal arts. Our curriculum presents the arts and sciences of liberal education as a comprehensive whole. There are no majors, no minors, no electives, and no specializations. The four-year interdisciplinary course of study makes use of the original writings of the great philosophers, historians, mathematicians, poets, scientists, and theologians of the West. Homer, Herodotus, Plato, Euclid, Aristotle, St. Augustine, Shakespeare, Einstein, and especially St. Thomas Aquinas are among the authors read.

Faith: The college’s chaplains offer Mass four times daily in Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Chapel, and confessions are heard before and after each Mass. Attendance is not required, but because no classes are scheduled during these times, all students can — and most do — frequent the sacraments. Spiritual direction is available to anyone who desires it. And many students serve as acolytes and sacristans, in pro-life work, and in the Legion of Mary. Retreats and vocations talks, processions and Holy Hours, the Rosary, and the Liturgy of the Hours all are regular occurrences among the student body. Every on-campus event, whether a dance, a concert, or a basketball game, is planned with an eye toward deepening faith and nurturing virtue. Each activity, as with each class, begins with a prayer.

Financial assistance: Thomas Aquinas College is committed to making its program of Catholic liberal education available to accepted students, regardless of financial need. The college receives no subsidy from Church or state. It relies, rather, on contributions from individuals and charitable foundations to make up the difference between what students are able to pay and the actual cost of their education.

  • Tuition cost: $24,500
  • Total undergraduate enrollment: 389
  • Student-faculty ratio: 11:1
  • Acceptance rate: 77 percent
  • Average freshman retention rate: 93 percent
  • Graduation rate: 72 percent
  • Average amount of student debt: $16,263

Did you know? The college hopes to open a New England branch campus in Northfield, Massachusetts, in fall 2018.

“In our classroom discussions, we are responsible for our own education. We have to get our hands dirty, to figure out the material, to let it become part of us and make us better people. That is real learning.” — Isabella Hsu, Redondo Beach, California


Wyoming Catholic College

Lander, Wyoming — WyomingCatholic.org

Wyoming Catholic College offers a backcountry Mass during the three-week freshmen expedition in the Wind River Mountains of Wyoming.

Academics: Wyoming Catholic College offers an education of immersion: immersion in the Western tradition, immersion in the beauty and challenges of the wilderness, immersion in the treasures of our Catholic spiritual heritage. The school provides a set, four-year curriculum, where all students take the same courses in the same order. There are no electives, and students graduate with a bachelor of arts in the liberal arts (by completing 137 credits). The curriculum is divided into eight curriculum tracks: humanities, theology, philosophy, math/science, fine arts, Latin, trivium, and leadership.

Faith: Visitors to Wyoming Catholic College regularly remark on the joyful spirit they see in our students — a joy that can be traced directly to their relationship with God, cultivated and sustained in the faithfully Catholic spiritual life at the college. In addition to educating our students’ minds, we seek to form them into young men and women fully alive in Christ.

Financial assistance: Ninety-two percent of students receive some form of financial aid. The college offers scholarships, grants, work-study, and other assistance.

  • Tuition cost: $22,000
  • Average amount of student debt: $16,900
  • Total number of students: 157
  •  Student-faculty ratio: 10:1
  • Acceptance rate: 88 percent
  • Average freshman retention rate: 91 percent
  • Graduation rate: 71 percent (four years), 81 percent (six years)

Did you know? Having been established in 2005 and opening its doors two years later, Wyoming Catholic College finds itself reaching new milestones almost every year. Having completed the 2016-17 academic year — a year that featured its largest student body to date — it is preparing to celebrate its 10th anniversary, with a number of events and conferences.

“I have been swept up into the rich humanities program here at Wyoming Catholic College. I thought I was coming to study in Wyoming, but instead I’ve found myself witnessing the fall of Troy, trapped in the plight of Antigone, watching the rise of the Roman Republic, fearing dark conspiracies under the Caesars, and praying in the catacombs with the early Christians. Our conversations with our professors last long after class time as we explore the ancient world; ours is an odyssey of the mind.”— Catherine Stypa, Tucson, Arizona


Editor’s Note: Is there a college that we should include in a future college guide? Email editor@CatholicDigest.com


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