University of St. Francis

as of email dated 2/12/2021

So do we! That’s why we take every single one of the students you bring to us with seriousness, attention, compassion and integrity. Could be the reason why we were just ranked in the top 20% of universities across the country by US News and as one of the best private universities in the Midwest by Princeton Review and Colleges of Distinction.
We know your students have thousands of options to choose from, how can they, and you, tell which school is the best choice?
Here’s what I can say about USF that you should know:

  • The University of St. Francis helps students learn, grow, and succeed. Our advising, career center, tutoring services, and faculty all work together for our students.
  • We believe everyone should have access to high quality, serious, degree programs that lead to meaningful careers, but not all students are prepared for rigorous studies.
  • Great teachers leading interesting classes and labs matter. At USF, we think students should not have teaching assistants who barely know them.
  • We think campus life should be fun but safe-- where students can live, learn, and enjoy a truly formative part of life. (Even our on-campus food gets high rankings!)
We think USF offers all of this, and more. After graduation, 96% of our grads are employed or accepted to graduate school within six months.
To us, college is not just a degree. It’s personal development, it’s learning independence, it’s setting up for success, it’s St. Francis.
Please tell your students about what we offer, and how much we want motivated students to join us at USF. Campus is open, student housing is available, and we are planning a full schedule of in-person classes.
For more information, they can flip through these booklets online:
Or watch this video:
Or take a virtual tour:
Eric Wignall
Vice President
Admissions, Enrollment & Marketing
University of St. Francis
500 Wilcox Street, Joliet, IL 60435
One hundred years of education and opportunity: 1920 to 2020
University of St. Francis | 500 Wilcox StreetJoliet, IL 60435


as of email dated 1/25/2021

Dear Counselors,
Like you, we are struggling to talk about the future with high school students. In the midst of their Zoom sessions, Google docs, and changing school calendars, I’d like the University of St. Francis to be a clear choice for your students to consider.
We are small enough that faculty really get to know students. We don’t have teaching assistants. There are no giant lecture halls– your students can’t get lost at USF.
It pays off to be small, with global alumni connections-- 97 percent of our graduates are employed (or in grad school) within six months of graduation.
Your students can live and learn here. USF opened campus safely this year and we will be open this coming fall with upgraded, safe, in-person and hybrid classes.
This year US News & World Report, the Princeton Review, and over a dozen other ranking service ranked us in the top 20% of US universities in multiple categories. With over 100 different, accredited degree options—USF can help your students focus, succeed, and earn a college degree.
With a new university band, a planned eSports team (starting this fall), NAIA sports for women and men, or our varied campus activities your students will get a real campus experience while earning a degree that is respected and valued.
We still have on-campus housing available. Academic, athletic, and program-related scholarships are still available for motivated students right now. We can even help them with the FAFSA.
Look for us at (We like to spell it out: EssTee Francis dot Ee Dee You).
Please share our links widely to your students:
Thank you, and please stay safe and healthy.
Eric Ruiz
Director of Undergraduate Admissions
University of St. Francis
500 Wilcox Street, Joliet, IL 60435
University of St. Francis | 500 Wilcox StreetJoliet, IL 60435


as of email dated 2/5/2020

The news is filled with politicians and commentators questioning the cost, but seldom the value, of college degrees. We know not everyone wants to go to college, and some students would do quite well in vocational or certificate programs.
But, for students with specific professional or wider intellectual interests, there may actually be no better time to get a college degree. Statistics overwhelmingly say a traditional four-year college program pays in the terms of more opportunities, higher wages, and even better health outcomes over the life of a college graduate.
Here’s a key point—your students will get very little from attending college but not graduating. They need to attend, take part, learn, and graduate with a degree to reap the benefits of a university education. At St. Francis we never lose sight of that final measure of success. It’s one of the reasons our retention and graduation rates are so high, why our earnings per graduate stats are so much better than other colleges, and why we do what we do.
College gives you knowledge, life experience with others, and options, which are best things for anyone to have facing an unpredictable future. We offer over 100 degree and program options, a beautiful, safe campus, and state-of-the-art learning spaces and resources. Please suggest St. Francis to students who may want a smaller, more personal university experience.
We can prove it… We have a Visit Day coming up at USF.
Can you suggest a campus visit on the upcoming President's Day? Your students can schedule a visit to the University of St. Francis Monday, February 17th.
Your juniors and seniors will:

  • Learn about USF programs & scholarships
  • Ask questions of current students
  • Take campus tours including residence halls!
  • Choose the 10 a.m. OR 2 p.m. session to fit their schedule
  • Get a FREE USF T-shirt and more!
Students (or parents) can RSVP here:
Eric Wignall
Vice President
Admissions, Enrollment & Marketing
University of St. Francis


 a/o email dated 11/8/19

Hello from the University of St. Francis, the one with the “St.” and not “Saint.”


I know—it’s silly to have two universities with such similar names.


This just a note to introduce you (or maybe re-introduce you) to USF and remind you that we are not the other school. While the other university, and several others across the US, announced they were cutting staff and closing programs, we are not.


The University of St. Francis ( is in Joliet, Illinois, just south of Chicago, in a beautiful, wooded neighborhood not far from Interstate 80. (Before you ask: Yes, we are recruiting students from Missouri, and no, we do not charge higher tuition for out of state students!)


USF was founded in 1920 so next year marks we are celebrating a great deal of success. We are growing in enrollment and expanding with a new state-of-the-art science building, new degree programs, a new university band, and more scholarships. USF is a nationally ranked university that offers over 100 degree options at the undergraduate level in the arts, science, nursing, education, and business.


With an average class of just 14 students, your students can’t get lost here.  We’ve created a university where students learn in small classes, student-faculty research experiences, hundreds of internships, high tech labs, and engaging seminars near Chicago (with all of the opportunities such a large city offers).


You don’t have to believe me. We are constantly evaluated by accreditors, professional organizations, and national publications and we come out with flying colors.


                   Colleges of Distinction – For the eighth consecutive year named a top tier US institution in Business, Education, Nursing, and in professional development

                   Princeton Review named us again as one of the 20 best colleges in the Midwest

                   College Consensus – Named USF to the top ten in Illinois, and one of its top 50 “Best Small Colleges” in the US

                   Money magazine - Best Colleges for Your Money (top 200 in the nation)

                   Wallet Hub also ranked us as one of the best and most affordable schools in the US


St. Francis has scholarships and open spots for new freshmen (your 2020 graduates) and we have a free online application for admission for your students at  We are on the Common App as well.


We also want you to know you have your own Missouri connection to USF – Kelly Manning is our new admissions representative for your students. Her email is


As the person in charge of admitting students here, I would love to help your students learn, succeed, and graduate with a valuable college degree from USF. If we can help any of your students, please let me know.


PS: Can we show off a bit? Please check out our video at


PPS: Can we serve your needs? If you’re looking for an online professional certificate, Master’s degree, or Doctorate in Educational Leadership, please contact me. I know a great little university that has what you need…



Eric Wignall

Vice President

Admissions, Enrollment & Marketing

University of St. Francis

500 Wilcox Street, Joliet, IL 60435


from email dated 4/9/19

Hello there on this fine Spring day,

I have written and spoken about how the University of St. Francis provides a valuable education. But, with news headlines about soaring student debt and graduates without jobs, it’s probably hard to believe what we say.

So let’s look at some real data...

Illinois tracks graduation and employment statistics for public and private colleges here while the federal government tracks student loan and debt information for universities across the country. Here’s the short version:

·        The University of St. Francis has a higher than average graduation rate for both universities here and across the country.
·        Students who graduate, and graduate on time, earn more money and earn it faster.
·        USF has a lower average student debt for graduates for both the state and the entire country. (Our average student graduate debt totals actually went down last year!)
·        USF graduates earn more than students from top private universities in our region!

And, just in case you think we’ve cooked the books, university grads with engineering degrees do make more money than almost any other bachelor’s degree graduates. We aren’t comparing ourselves to engineering programs because we don’t have any yet.

We are strong in Nursing, Education, Business, and traditional liberal arts degrees. Please keep this in mind when you look at the annual earning numbers…

Dominican University         $ 33,358
North Central University   $ 37,351
Aurora University               $ 41,450
Saint Xavier University       $ 44,553
Benedictine University        $ 49,280
Lewis University                  $ 49,645
Olivet University                 $ 49,860
University of St. Francis       $51,400

These calculations are based on average annual earnings calculated in the second year after graduation (for grads who worked for at least three quarters for the same employer).

This is an average – It actually goes up in categories like Finance and Nursing! USF graduates join an alumni network of almost 50,000 professionals, CEOs, educators, and others who often help connect our grads with amazing opportunities across the country.

A university founded on values – Yes, since 1920 that is the University of St. Francis.

A valuable education – Yes, that is what students get at USF.

Please let your students know about who we are and what we do.

Eric Wignall
Vice President
Admissions, Enrollment & Marketing
University of St. Francis
500 Wilcox Street, Joliet, IL 60435

from email dated 3/1/19

Hello from Joliet,

Students are right to be careful with college choices. The overall cost of college, the debt they may have to take on, and the value of the degree they want to earn are all huge questions to consider.

A lot of parents, and quite a few school counselors, think private universities are too expensive and offer the same education that public universities do.

The University of St. Francis offers more value, higher quality, extra support, and options that are more valuable to students than ever before.

How do we provide value?

St. Francis offers award-winning degree programs taught by exceptional faculty. We’ve kept costs low by investing in our campus, labs, and faculty, not consultants and crowds of teaching assistants.

Serious scholarships: We didn’t just expand our scholarships -- This year we cut student fees in half and continue to keep our tuition costs lower than our peers. All of our freshmen receive some form of financial aid in either grants or scholarships and scholarships at USF are guaranteed. We don’t pull a scholarship from a student who has a bad semester or cut money from a student-athlete who is injured.

Low student debt: The students who do borrow money for their education graduate from USF with debt that is actually lower than the average for even state universities (who offer lower tuition!).

Graduation matters: We have a high four-year graduation rate, which can ultimately cut the overall cost of college by 20% or more. Students who go to college but not graduate face serious financial and career difficulties.

We help our students succeed: Our freshmen retention rate (80%) tells the story. We invest time and effort in helping students succeed with academic support services, student events, tutoring, campus life activities, counseling services, and student placement. They become part of a community at USF.

Valuable degree programs: Almost 98% of our graduates are employed or in graduate school within six months of graduation. In some programs, like nursing, there’s a 100% placement rate.

Size matters: With one faculty member for every 13 students your students can’t get lost on our campus. They have access to internships, mentors, experts, and personal learning experiences everywhere.

For 99 years, the University of St. Francis has enrolled and educated generations of teachers, nurses, leaders, and community members who made lives for themselves based on the knowledge and relationships they created here.

We are still accepting applications for fall 2019.  We would love for your students to join us.

Eric Wignall

Vice President
Admissions, Enrollment & Marketing
University of St. Francis
500 Wilcox Street, Joliet, IL 60435

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