Saint Leo University Earns U.S. News Honors for Online Bachelor’s Programs

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Saint Leo University was named as providing two of the best online programs in the United States, according to the 2019 U.S. News & World Report’s Best Online Programs edition, which was released January 16.

Saint Leo ranked 69th in the Best Online Programs for bachelor’s degrees, tied with the University of Cincinnati, University of North Dakota, and the University of North Texas.

In addition, Saint Leo ( was named as one of 2019 Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Veterans.

In 2018, Saint Leo was ranked high in the Best Online Programs for bachelor’s degrees (tied for 88th) and was named to the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Veterans list (51st).

Saint Leo recently celebrated its 20th anniversary of offering online education. Launched in December 1998, Saint Leo was one of the first institutions to embrace online education with the creation of the Center for Online Learning.

“We are proud that Saint Leo University’s online bachelor’s program is recognized in the U.S. News & World Report’s Best Online Programs rankings again this year,” said Dr. Jeffrey D. Senese, university president. “Saint Leo continues to strengthen its online programs, offering the best student experience. We want to meet the needs of all of our students, no matter where they study. Saint Leo’s online education program allows our students to study and take classes at their convenience. It offers them flexibility along with access to highly reputable programs.”

U.S. News assessed schools based on four general categories: engagement; services and technologies; faculty credentials and training; and expert opinion. Full rankings can be found at

Saint Leo University is Florida’s first and oldest Catholic university, founded in 1889, north of Tampa, FL. Today, the university holds true to the Benedictine values on which it was founded. All courses at Saint Leo, including those taught online, include a focus on at least one of Saint Leo’s six core values: excellence; community; respect; personal development; responsible stewardship; and integrity. For example, students in online business courses discuss ethical behavior by national companies – what does a company look like that embraces integrity?

With 20 years of experience, Saint Leo understands the flexible learning experience online education can provide. The university is attuned with the unique needs of the online adult learner. One of the most critical areas in which Saint Leo distinguishes itself among other higher education institutions is its focus on connecting with students.

Students who are connected and involved in their university tend to do better academically and complete their degrees, which are offered from the associate level to the doctoral.

“Online students are no different,” said Shadel Hamilton, associate vice president of WorldWide Student Services. There may be a greater need for connection for those studying online as they don’t receive the face-to-face interaction that their counterparts, who attend class in a traditional university setting receive, Hamilton said. “We foster engagement that increases student satisfaction and success while also providing individualized support to align students’ education and career goals.”

One of the ways Saint Leo students connect is via virtual clubs and associations, offered through Saint Leo WorldWide’s Student Services department. Online students may join a club or association without leaving their home or workplace. Clubs focus on specific topics such as the Military & Family or the Student Communications Club, which produces a monthly newsletter created by online students located around the world.

“I believe Saint Leo has succeeded in online education because we take a proactive approach to serving online students and invite them to be part of a virtual community,” said Nancy Cheek, associate director of Career Services.

The veterans ranking by U.S. News & World Report is just one of many military awards Saint Leo has received. The university recently was ranked fourth in the country by Military Times Best: Colleges 2019in the online and nontraditional schools category. It has been honored by other publications such as G.I. Jobs and Military Advanced Education and Transition, and was named by Victory Media as a 2018 Top 10 Gold-level Military Friendly® School Award recipient and a 2018 Spouse Friendly School.

About Saint Leo University

Saint Leo University ( is a modern Catholic teaching university that is firmly grounded in the liberal arts tradition and the timeless Benedictine wisdom that seeks balanced growth of mind, body, and spirit. The Saint Leo University of today is a private, nonprofit institution that creates hospitable learning communities wherever students want to be or need to be, whether that is a campus classroom, a web-based environment, an employer’s worksite, a military base, or an office park. Saint Leo welcomes people of all faiths and of no religious affiliation and encourages learners of all generations. The university is committed to providing educational opportunities to the nation’s armed forces, veterans, and their families. Saint Leo is regionally accredited to award degrees ranging from the associate to the doctorate, and the faculty and staff guide all students to develop their capacities for critical thinking, moral reflection, and lifelong learning and leadership.

The university remains the faithful steward of the beautiful lakeside University Campus in the Tampa Bay region of Florida, where its founding monks created the first Catholic college in the state in 1889. Serving nearly 12,000 students, Saint Leo has expanded to downtown Tampa, to other sites in Florida and beyond, and maintains a physical presence in seven states. The university provides highly respected online learning programs to students nationally and internationally. More than 93,000 alumni reside in all 50 states, in Washington, DC, in three U.S. territories, and in 76 countries.