Aug 17, 2012

Just the Facts: Colleges Identifying with the Catholic Faith

Georgetown University
According to College Navigator, 209 4-year nonprofit colleges and universities in the US identify with the Roman Catholic faith. They represent a wide variety of educational opportunities ranging from large research universities to small liberal arts colleges.

And it’s not always easy to figure out or understand the fundamental differences among them—especially if you’re not Catholic!

Most Catholic colleges have a specific founding order or group with which they further identify. For example Villanova University and Merrimack College are Augustinian; Seton Hall (NJ) and the University of Dallas are Diocesan; Duquesne is Spiritan; and the University of Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s College, and Holy Cross College are affiliated with the Congregation of Holy Cross—not to be confused with the College of the Holy Cross, which is Jesuit.

Locally, Catholic University is "independent," and Trinity Washington University has officially ended affiliation with the Church.

But by far, the largest group of Catholic institutions identifies as Jesuit. There are 28 Jesuit colleges and universities located in every corner of the country, including Georgetown and Loyola University of Maryland, in the DC area.

Using data from the National Center of Educational Statistics (NCES), the following is a ranking of all US Jesuit colleges by size of undergraduate population:
  1. Saint Louis University (12,531)
  2. Loyola University Chicago (9,856)
  3. Boston College (9,826)
  4. Fordham University (8,427)
  5. Marquette University (8,387)
  6. Georgetown University (7,590)
  7. University of San Francisco (6,071)
  8. Loyola Marymount University (6,069)
  9. Regis University (5,643)
  10. Saint Joseph’s University (5,500)
  11. Santa Clara University (5,229)
  12. Gonzaga University (4,865)
  13. Seattle University (4,631)
  14. Xavier University (4,540)
  15. Creighton University (4,153)
  16. University of Scranton (4,069)
  17. Loyola University Maryland (3,863)
  18. Fairfield University (3,835)
  19. Canisius College (3,385)
  20. Loyola University New Orleans (3,165)
  21. John Carroll University (3,001)
  22. University of Detroit Mercy (2,971)
  23. College of the Holy Cross (2,905)
  24. Le Moyne College (2,871)
  25. Saint Peter’s College (2,344)
  26. Rockhurst University (2,130)
  27. Spring Hill College (1,257)
  28. Wheeling Jesuit University (1,071)

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