Marketing & Communications

XU Quick Facts


Xavier University of Louisiana, founded by Saint Katharine Drexel and the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, is Catholic and historically Black. The ultimate purpose of the University is to contribute to the promotion of a more just and humane society by preparing its students to assume roles of leadership and service in a global society. This preparation takes place in a diverse learning and teaching environment that incorporates all relevant educational means, including research and community service.


Undergraduate students, regardless of their major are required to complete sixty hours of liberal arts core curriculum courses in English, Literature, Fine Arts, Foreign Languages, History, African American and Diaspora Studies, Mathematics, Natural Sciences, Philosophy, Theology, and Social Sciences in addition to courses in their major fields.  Xavier offers preparation in over 40 major areas on the undergraduate, graduate, and professional degree levels. The University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Its respective programs are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education, the National Association of Schools of Music, the Louisiana Department of Education, Accreditation Council of Business Schools and Programs, and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). Xavier is also approved by the American Chemical Society.


The total enrollment for fall 2017 was 3,044, which includes a freshman class of 716. The University’s major academic units are the College of Arts and Sciences (which awards baccalaureate degrees as well as master’s degrees in Education and Counseling and a doctorate in Educational Leadership) and the College of Pharmacy (which awards the Doctor of Pharmacy degree). The University also awards the M.Th. in Theology through its Institute for Black Catholic Studies.


From its founding Xavier has embraced a special mission to serve the African American Catholic community; however, its doors have always been open to qualified students of every race and creed. Today 69.7 percent of its enrollment is African American and 26 percent is Catholic. More than one-half of Xavier students are from Louisiana (55.6%), primarily from the New Orleans area. Non-local enrollment continues to increase with students coming from 40 other states – most notably Texas and Georgia. Fifteen foreign countries are represented on campus. Student life is enriched by the social and cultural setting of New Orleans, and by campus activities designed to enhance personal growth, interpersonal skills, and leadership in such areas as community service, the environment, cultural concerns, and social justice.


The Office of Admissions seeks to enroll a student body that is diverse and in keeping with the offerings within the colleges of the University. The average ACT and SAT (CR&M) scores for entering freshmen in 2015 were 22.7 and 994, respectively. In maintaining its historic commitment to academic excellence, the University attracts many students who are high achievers, yet it remains committed to admitting a certain percentage of “at risk” students who exhibit the will to succeed. The Student Academic Success Office provides the resources and support systems to assist all students in being successful. The retention rate of first-time freshmen is 73.9%.


Of the 221 full-time faculty members, 96.8% hold terminal degrees and 48.9% are tenured. More than 40 XU faculty members serve as endowed chairs or endowed professors, which provides additional financial support for their research and teaching.

  • Dr. Michael White, an eminent jazz historian and performer who holds the Rosa and Charles Keller, Jr. Endowed Chair in the Arts and Humanities, was named "2010 Humanist of the Year" by the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities. A 1976 XU graduate, he was also awarded an NEA National Heritage Award for his artistic excellence and continuing contributions to traditional arts heritage.

  • Dr. John Ware, chair of the Department of Music and conductor/music director of the New Orleans Black Chorale, holds the Keller Foundation Professorship in Arts & Humanities. He was recipient of the Big Easy Entertainment Award’s 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award. He is a 1977 XU graduate.

  • Dr. Kathleen Kennedy, dean of the College of Pharmacy and the Malcolm Ellington Professorship in Health Disparities Research, was the recipient of the 2008 Meritorious Service Award by the Association of Black Health System Pharmacists for “her leadership, service, and voluntary contributions to the community and the pharmacy profession”.

Xavier faculty members enjoy the support of the Center for the Advancement of Teaching & Faculty Development, which provides workshops and pedagogical research opportunities focused on enhancing faculty teaching.


Xavier students attend graduate and professional schools at a rate that reflects the efforts of XU faculty, staff and administrators. The percent of students from the College of Arts and Sciences who enrolled in graduate/professional school during the fall or spring semester after graduation was 27.1 percent for 2014-2015 graduates. Within the natural sciences and mathematics disciplines, as well as the social sciences, one of every three students goes on to acquire advanced degrees. Xavier continues to address the national under-representation of Blacks with Ph.Ds. and other graduate and professional degrees as a strategic goal. The Pre-Medical program, for example, is a national model of quality. Xavier’s Center for Undergraduate Research and Graduate Placement Office continue to prepare students for graduate school.


In May 2018, a total of 500 degrees were awarded at the undergraduate, graduate and professional school levels. Science majors continue to be the most popular as many students prepare for careers in health and other scientific professions, particularly medicine. Business and psychology continue to be popular majors as well. Ten years ago, new learning outcomes for the core curriculum were developed and approved by the College of Arts and Sciences faculty. Almost all disciplines emphasize faculty-student research and teach students to report their research results or interpretations in articles and scholarly presentations.


Xavier is recognized as a national leader in the sciences and the liberal arts:

  • In a survey of students conducted for The Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College Rankings, based on students’ opinions on how well their college or university is preparing them for their career, Xavier received the highest score of any school in the South – in fact, it received the highest score of any of the more than 1,000 schools that were included in the 2017 WSJ/THE rankings.

  • Ranked #1 in the nation in awarding bachelor's degrees to African American students in the biological and biomedical sciences, the physical sciences, and physics.

  • Ranked #1 in the nation in the number of African American graduates who go on to complete medical school.

  • Among the nation's top four colleges of pharmacy in graduating African Americans with Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm D) degrees.

  • Ranked#3 in the nation in the number of African American graduates who go on to earn a Ph.D. in science and engineering disciplines.

  • The Department of Physics is #1 in the nation for awarding African Americans baccalaureate degrees in physics and the physical sciences, according to the latest report from the American Institute of Physics (AIP). Xavier is consistently ranked by the American Chemical Society as one of the top 25 universities in the nation in awarding bachelor’s degrees in chemistry.

  • The 2019 edition of the Fiske Guide to Colleges once again lists Xavier among the 300 “best and most interesting” four-year colleges and universities.

  • Xavier was also singled out as one of the nation’s 384 best institutions for undergraduate education by The Princeton Review in the 2019 edition of its annual “The Best 384 Colleges”.

  • U.S News “Best Colleges” Guide 2019 rates Xavier as No. 29 among southern regional colleges and universities and No. 5 spot among Historically Black Colleges and Universities HBCUs). Schools are considered regional Universities if they offer a full range of undergraduate programs and some master's programs but few doctoral programs.

  • College Consensus, a unique college ratings website that aggregates publisher rankings and student reviews, ranks Xavier as the nation’s #2 HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) in its newly released publication, Best HBCUs for 2019. It also ranks Xavier as #3 among all Louisiana colleges.

  • ranks Xavier #2 among the nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

  • Both the College Choice and Best Value Schools websites rank Xavier as  No. 4 in their online listing of the Best Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) for 2018.

  • Your 2018 Guide to College Transfer lists Xavier as one of only 90 colleges and universities nationwide profiled as “transfer friendly” in this guide to the college transfer process by the Kaplan Educational Foundation.

  • The Student Loan Report ranks #Xavier 12 out of 800 Private schools who left graduates with the least amount of private student loan debt, a form of financial aid known for higher interest rates and less forgiving repayment programs.

  • named Xavier as the best college in Louisiana for getting a job in its report, "The Best Colleges in Each State for Getting a Job 2018". It also ranked Xavier's Psychology Program as #1 in Louisiana.


The University’s unrestricted operating revenue is more than $100 million, while the current value of its endowment is more than $171 million. Unlike some denominations, the Catholic Church does not provide funds for Xavier or other Catholic colleges and universities in the United States (Catholic University in Washington, DC is the one exception). More than 87 percent of Xavier’s undergraduates apply for and receive some form of need-based financial aid. More than 65 percent receive Pell grants. Because many students have limited financial resources, the University maintains a policy of low tuition ($21,212 undergraduate in 2017).


Xavier has significantly increased its national prominence in research over the last decade. Among the 101 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Xavier currently ranks 6th in funding from Health and Human Services (HHS) and 1st on a per capita basis. Among all universities in the nation, Xavier is among the top 30 percent in National Science Foundation (NSF) funding and among the top 15 percent in HHS funding. In Louisiana Xavier ranks third in National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding behind only Tulane and the LSU System. Awards from NIH, NSF, the Louisiana Board of Regents and foundations like Keck and Sherman Fairchild have enormously expanded Xavier’s core instrumentation facilities. Membership in the Louisiana Cancer Research Consortium is making it possible for Xavier’s Cancer research programs to move aggressively forward.


Xavier’s strategic priorities for maintaining its unique place in the world of higher education and reaching even higher levels of academic excellence and service to the community include increasing scholarships for deserving students, promoting excellence in teaching and research, increasing the number of Xavier students entering graduate and professional schools, expanding the University’s leadership in pharmaceutical education and minority healthcare issues, and enhancing programs that promote core values and leadership.

Last updated 08/09/2018

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