Delaware State University rose to No 3 among public Historically Black Colleges and Universities in U.S. News & World Report annual rankings, and was named No. 11 overall.
DSU has held the No. 4 place since 2016.
The Dover institution was rated higher because of alumni giving, better faculty pay and poor students graduating at the same rate as those better off financially. Those categories are three of the metrics used to score the 103 HBCUs.
“No ranking can accurately capture how important institutions like Delaware State University are to ensuring that any barrier to higher education can be overcome,” said University President Tony Allen in a press release. “We do more with substantively less and still punch well above our weight in delivering a diverse talent pipeline in every field of human endeavor.”
The university scored a 28% increase in the Social Mobility Index, which measures the performance of Pell Grant recipients, who represent students from low-resource families, against students who do not need a high level of financial aid. U.S. News found the graduation rates of both groups were exactly the same over six years.
“That social mobility factor is easily the most significant for any HBCU,” Allen said. “It measures our ability to support ALL students. ”
Alumni giving has increased significantly, said Vita Pickrum, vice president for institutional advancement. She pointed to alumni who helped support DSU’s $1.2 million drive for the COVID Student Emergency Relief Fund.
“We couldn’t have achieved our goal to provide assistance to struggling students without them,” she said in the press release.
Provost Saundra DeLauder said the school has been continuously improving compensation packages. That also helps DSU recruit, she said.
Average faculty compensation improved by $4,600 between 2020-2021 while expenditures supporting faculty in terms of research and direct academic support also increased by about $2 million annually in each category. Delaware State University, now an R-2 research institution, ranks No. 6 among all HBCUs in research, and in the top third of all research universities.
“The real challenge this year has been providing an outstanding education to our students while keeping them safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, and not losing sight of our growth objectives,” Allen said.