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Catholic Colleges and Universities

"The Catholic colleges and universities in the United States have had an enormously powerful influence in helping to shape higher learning in this country.  They have brought not only the influence of intellectual life and vitality, they have also brought a great sense of moral commitment.  They understand how to blend so splendidly the intellectual quest and the yearnings of the human spirit."

--Earnest L. Boyer, President
Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

A Catholic college or university is a moral community, led by a group of people who are committed to the institution's religious character and mission.  Catholic colleges and universities provide a readiness to reflect on modern society from a values-oriented perspective; convictions which promote justice and opportunities for all people; and intellectual freedom, including the freedom to communicate ethical principles that give fuller meaning to life.

Impressive facts about Catholic colleges
Over 720,000 students attend 221 Catholic colleges and universities in the United States.  Catholic colleges and universities account for half of all students enrolled in faith-based institutions of higher education in the United States and are located in 40 states the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Catholic colleges and universities in the United States, account for half of all the Catholic universities in the world.

Did you know...

  • Catholic college and university enrollment increased in the 1990s by 18.8%, a rate that is almost three times the national average over the same time period (7%). Private university enrollment over the same period increased by 6 percent, and faith-based institutions increased by 16.8 percent.

  • An average of 65% of students at Catholic colleges and universities are Catholic.

  • Catholic colleges and universities are frequently cited in US News & World Report as "Best Buy" schools, and are consistently cited by the Templeton Foundation as "Character-Building Schools."

  • In the United States, Catholic institutions of higher learning include: 4 medical schools, 26 Law schools, 17 schools of engineering, 81 schools of nursing, 177 schools of education, 19 women's colleges, 3 Carnegie Classified research universities, 13 doctoral universities, and 2 aviation programs.

Linked Globally
Linked to a global church and to sponsoring religious congregations with international connections, most of these schools facilitate study abroad opportunities for summers and junior year semesters.  They participate in professor exchanges and international conferences. Most offer opportunities for volunteer work in culturally diverse contexts

Catholic colleges and universities in the United States are among the world's most prestigious learning institutions. Many Catholic colleges are cited again and again in U.S. News & World Report, Barron's, Time and Money magazines as Best Value, Best Regional Liberal Arts College, Excellent Buy, and finalist for College of the Year.

The John Templeton Foundation has nationally recognized many Catholic colleges by listing them on its Honor Roll for Character-Building Colleges.

Catholic universities also have some of the most impressive sports programs in the United States.

A fit for you
Catholic colleges and universities are incredibly diverse.

  1. They come in all sizes, with enrollments of fewer than 1,000 students to more than 20,000.
  2. They are located in large cities and small towns from coast to coast. They are located in 40 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.
  3. Of the more than 200 Catholic colleges in the United States, some are women's colleges; some are major universities with law, medical, and other professional schools; and one is an historically black university. Seven of them grant pontifical degrees.

Supportive environment
A recent study showed that Catholic colleges and universities provide an exceptionally supportive academic and social environment for the students they enroll. Professors are profoundly engaged with their students in fulfilling the college's mission and spirit. At the college you choose, you will be supported by faculty who genuinely care about you and your future. These professors celebrate the gift of life, and they cherish truth and virtue. They recognize that you are not just preparing for life, but living it.

Catholic colleges and universities are unique in that they bring together people of all backgrounds and all faiths. They actually attract overall a higher percentage of minority students than four-year publicly supported colleges or other independent institutions.

On these campuses, you will be offered unparalleled opportunities to build lifelong friendships with peers of both similar and diverse worldviews and with people who value worship, community, and service.

Community service
Catholic colleges and universities have a special commitment to community. Some offer special service opportunities that you will want to explore. Community service is even a graduation requirement at certain colleges. This spirit of community adds an invaluable dimension to your education, whatever your choice of career.

A recent graduate who attended a Catholic college near our nation's capital said, "I was looking for a college program that would allow me to do more. -- When we went on the Washington D.C. March for the Homeless, it really struck me that college students are given power to make a change in the world."

A better future
Is it a coincidence that students are happier at Catholic colleges and have a better chance of graduating in six years or less than at other institutions? Is it good fortune that the institutions have graduated so many of the political, business, and artistic leaders in the United States today?

The answer, of course, is that it's no coincidence -- it has to do with the essence of a Catholic college. When you have professors, trustees, deans, and other university employees who are committed to nurturing not only the student's mind, but the whole student -- body, heart, and spirit -- you are going to achieve excellence as a learning institution.

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