LSU is moving the needle in every metric that matters. We climbed 148 spots in The Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education rankings since its creation three years ago and made a significant jump in the latest Washington Monthly 2019 College Guide and Rankings, climbing nearly 20 spots to finish No. 71 among public universities nationwide and moving up six spots to No. 24 among flagship universities. We remain Louisiana’s highest-ranked public university in both publications.
During my career, I’ve had the opportunity to advocate for public higher education by helping to develop the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and advising The Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education’s team as they evolve their rankings into a system that more accurately measures outcomes, the true indicator of the value of higher education. This is important because few such systems actually measure what really matters to families. And among rankings that value graduate success, low debt loads, and high rates of social mobility, LSU’s stock has skyrocketed.
Our good news doesn’t stop there. We are proud to announce the enrollment of our largest, most diverse, and most academically accomplished student body ever. We welcomed more than 6,100 freshmen this semester, including record-breaking enrollment in our prestigious Honors College. Collectively, our incoming class has an average GPA of nearly 3.7 and an ACT score of 26. We are keeping Louisiana’s best and brightest here at home while raiding other states of their top talent. That’s what great flagship universities do, and we are proud of our continued success in this area.
Our outstanding enrollment is coupled with LSU’s sixth consecutive year of record-breaking graduating classes. More Louisiana students, more graduate students, more veterans, and more students from diverse backgrounds than ever before have walked across the stage to receive an LSU degree. Our graduates also enjoy an incredible return on investment, earning starting and mid-career salaries that rank third among all public institutions in the SEC. Combined with the fact that the majority of LSU students graduate with little to no debt at a time when nearly 80% of the nation’s graduates are left owing significant amounts, it’s no wonder that Tigers can be found in leadership positions within the world’s most notable companies.
While we are proud of this exceptional period of student success, we are equally proud of our advances in research. Together, all eight LSU campuses have a combined research portfolio of $1.1 billion dollars. The word “research” means many different things to many people, but at its core, it represents the career-long commitment that our world renowned faculty have made to their respective fields. We create solutions to coastal erosion, look for cures to chronic diseases like cancer and diabetes, and solve economic issues that touch the world. LSU faculty contributed to the Nobel Prize in physics and are among the most cited scholars in the world. Simply put, their work changes lives.
We want to share our success with every single Louisianan, because LSU’s impact doesn’t stop at the campus gates — it reaches into all 64 parishes to touch each citizen. That’s the mission of a great public university, and it’s one we are proud to fulfill.
F. King Alexander is president of LSU.