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.
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.
Xavier offers preparation in more than 45 major areas on the undergraduate, graduate, and professional degree levels. Undergraduate students, regardless of their major are required to complete forty hours of core curriculum courses that will challenge students to think critically and innovatively about their world, regions, communities, and themselves.
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 2018 was 3,231, which included a freshman class of 866. That marked the largest group of new freshman since 2010 (then 781) and the highest overall enrollment numbers since 2011 (then 3,399).
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. Today71.6 percent of its enrollment is African American and 19 percent is Catholic. Just under one-half of Xavier students are from Louisiana (48.4%), primarily from the New Orleans area. Non-local enrollment continues to increase with students coming from 40 other states. 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 2018 were 22.8 and 1075, 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%.
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 31.4 percent for 2018 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.
Xavier is recognized as a national leader in the sciences and the liberal arts:
The University’s unrestricted operating revenue is more than $125 million, while the current value of its endowment is more than $178 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 ($22,503 undergraduate per year in 2019).
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.