campus encounters

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Saint Augustine’s University

Saint Augustine’s University (visited 3/14/17)


SAU library

The library

SAU is a small HBCU in Raleigh, NC. It only offers undergraduate programs and serves about 1,000 students. The population is about equally split between in- and out-of-state students. The university is located in a highly residential area with not much within immediate walking distance, but shuttles and city buses run regularly. A city bus was dropping students off at the main gate as I was touring.

SAU dorm 2

The largest dorm on campus

This is a small, manageable campus. There’s a central quad area with dorms sitting on one side and academics on the other. Athletic facilities are easily accessible outside this main circle. Students can get from dorms to classes in about 5 minutes, 10 if they’re slow! The dining hall is small but gets the job done. Overall, facilities are decent but could use some updating. This probably stems from some of the recent financial troubles the school has faced. A new president was appointed in 2015 which they’re hoping will help stabilize the school’s finances.


SAU Greek 1

A Greek display with the quad in the background

Greek life is highly active on campus and chapters are displayed prominently in the middle of campus with plagues and other decorative items. Sports are also a big deal here, particularly Track & Field. They have sent a couple runners to the Olympics, and their coach is highly regarded, taking the team to Nationals several times!


SAU chapel

The historic chapel (this is an Episcopal school).

Although I was visiting relatively early on a chilly day, students were out and about on campus. There was a nice vibe around campus. Students made eye contact and said hello to people. However, their graduation rate is abysmal with a little under 1/3 of the students graduating within 6 years. Approximately 75% of students are Pell-Eligible, and there is no real program to help students stay and persist to graduation. I’d be concerned about students choosing to attend here other than needing a stepping stone to another school.


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