For the third straight year, Delaware State University was ranked by US News and World Report as No. 4 nationwide among public historically black colleges and universities.

The university reached that position by going from No. 9 in 2016 to its current ranking in 2017. The 102 HBCUs across the U.S. are a mixture of public and private institutions; among both categories Delaware State University ranks No. 13 overall. The university ranked No. 21 in 2016.

The magazine’s analysis compiles data about each university or college on everything from graduation rates and faculty qualifications to incoming SAT scores and the financial stability of the institution.

A new category figured into the analysis for 2020 is social mobility, which measures an institution’s ability to educate students from families with few financial resources, based on Pell Grant eligibility and other factors concerning socioeconomic status.

Of note is the university’s program for undocumented immigrant students. Since 2016, the university has partnered with the TheDream.US in the Opportunity Scholarship Program; 150 of these students now attend DSU, including 29 students from the original cohort slated to graduate in May 2020. The first of these students have made the most of their higher education opportunity — with a 98% retention rate and an average GPA of 3.5.

DSU offers a number of supports for all incoming students that Allen said he expects to impact graduation rates over the next few years. Incoming freshmen receive an Apple iPad or MacBook already bundled into their financial aid, and the university is committed to a fully integrated digital learning experience by the end of 2020. Each student also receives an Individual Development Plan and a consistent web of advising, counseling and wraparound supportive services.