Founded in 1855 as the first interracial and co-ed school in the South, this Kentucky school named for the town in which it sits, strives to maintain its identity as a diverse college. With ethnic minorities representing nearly a third of its students and a remarkable 83 percent of students receiving Pell Grants (federal grants for students from low-income families), Berea is No. 11 on NEWSWEEK's list of most diverse schools.
Priding itself on what it calls an "inclusive Christian character," the college offers free tuition to all of its roughly 1,500 students, each of whom, in exchange, work at least 10 hours per week on campus. This, as well as the opportunity to earn a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree in more than 28 fields, positions Berea as the eighth most desirable rural school in the nation and the 16th most desirable small school.
With such accolades, it's no wonder competition is stiff, and only 22 percent of applicants are fortunate enough to be accepted. The school says it admits "only academically promising students," and entrants average a 25 on the ACTs and 1210 on the SATs.
To rank colleges and universities by diversity, we took a broad view of related issues, including ethnicity, geographic origin, economic status, gender, and sexual orientation. Read more about our methodology here.