33 most diverse colleges in 2020

Ivy League institutions dominate the top spots of this year's Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College Rankings. But when it comes to rankings for diversity alone, public universities lead the way. 

The eight private universities traditionally known as the Ivy League are all among the top 15 schools overall. The rankings are based on 15 factors in four categories: 40 percent of the score is tied to student outcomes; 30 percent to academic resources; 20 percent to student engagement; and 10 percent to the learning environment, including diversity of the student body and academic staff. (Find overall rankings here.) 

To evaluate the learning environment specifically, WSJ/THE analyzed colleges' percentage of Pell Grant recipients, the racial and ethnic diversity of students and staff, and the proportion of students who come from abroad.

The following schools received the highest scores for diversity. The list includes several ties: 

1. La Sierra University (Riverside, Calif.) 


2. University of California, Irvine 

California State University, Northridge


3. California State University, Long Beach


4. University of Massachusetts, Boston 

Rutgers University, Newark 

San Francisco State University 


5. California State University, East Bay

California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

CUNY City College of New York

New York Institute of Technology 

San Jose (Calif.) State University 


6. University of California, Los Angeles 

University of California, Davis

University of Illinois at Chicago

CUNY Bernard M. Baruch College (New York)

California State University, Fresno 


7. University of California, San Diego

University of San Francisco 

CUNY Hunter College (New York) 

California State University, Fullerton

University of Houston-Downtown


8. California College of the Arts (San Francisco and Oakland) 

California State University, Bakersfield 

California State University, Monterey Bay


9. University of California, Riverside 

California State University, San Marcos


10. Illinois Institute of Technology (Chicago) 

Stony Brook (N.Y.) University 

University of St. Thomas (Houston) 

CUNY Queens College (New York)

NOVA Southeastern University (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) 

California State University, Sacramento


Other key takeaways from the WSJ/THE analysis: 

  • Only two of the schools ranked in the top 10 for environment are private.
  • Harvard University came in No. 1 in the overall ranking and at No. 120 on environment.
  • La Sierra came in No. 1 for environment but does not fall among the top 400 on outcomes, which measures things like graduation rates, earnings and student debt levels.

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