Student Life

Student Profile

With over 450 students enrolled in the Heller School, the diversity of experiences and identities they represent is impossible to fully quantify. We maintain a firm commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion on campus.

Professional Backgrounds, Experience and Age

Many Heller students come from professional backgrounds as researchers, grassroots activists, nonprofit leaders, government policy wonks and social justice advocates. The average age of a Heller student is around 30, with an age range of 22-50.

We are the third most popular graduate school for returned Peace Corps volunteers. Taken together, Peace Corps volunteers, City Year alumni and AmeriCorps alumni accounted for 32 percent of our fall 2016 entering class.

Global and Domestic Student Enrollment

About one-third of our students are from countries other than the United States, representing over 50 different countries. Among them, the countries with the largest student representation are China, Nigeria, Pakistan, Egypt, India, Ethiopia, Canada and Uganda. More than 30 languages are spoken at Heller, and every year we celebrate events such as Africa Night, the Global Bazaar, and International Mother Tongue Day.

Domestic Racial and Ethnic Diversity

Among domestic students, we aspire to have a racially and ethnically diverse student body in addition to an inclusive and welcoming environment for students of color. For the 2017 entering class, 34% of our domestic students are students of color. The racial and ethnic diversity among our 2017 domestic student enrollment is as follows:

  • White: 61%
  • Black: 14%
  • Hispanic (of any race): 8%
  • Asian: 8%
  • Unknown: 5%
  • Two or more races: 4%


At the Heller School, we recognize that gender is not a binary and we welcome students who are gender fluid and transgender. Roughly 60 percent of our student body identify as female and roughly 40 percent identify as male, with some students who choose not to identify as either male or female.