St. Louis: Education and Research

Elementary and Secondary Schools

Education in the St. Louis area was ranked fourth by Forbes magazine in its list of 'Best Places With the Best Education' in February 2003. The St. Louis Public Schools are administered by a seven-member, nonpartisan, elected board of education that appoints a superintendent and serves a six-year term without compensation. The district received an $8.4 million federal grant for elementary school programs. The Clyde C. Miller Academy, which teaches technical and career training to 800 students, opened in 2003.

The following is a summary of data regarding St. Louis public schools as of the 2003–2004 school year.

Total enrollment: 37,563

Number of facilities

elementary schools: 59

middle schools: 21

senior high schools: 10

other: 5

Student/teacher ratio: elementary, 23:1; middle school 27:1; high school 33:1

Teacher salaries average: $41,388

Funding per pupil: $9,995

The St. Louis area has 115 public school districts offering everything from innovative urban magnet to excellent suburban school programs. More than 300 private schools are available in the St. Louis area.

Colleges and Universities

St. Louis is home to 12 universities, 8 professional schools, 9 graduate schools, 8 two-year colleges and 89 vocational schools. Washington University, a private independent institution, offers 90 programs and 1,500 courses in such fields as business, architecture, engineering, social work, and teacher education; the university operates schools of medicine, dentistry, and law. More than 6,500 undergraduates and 5,000 graduates attend this research university. Saint Louis University, established in 1818 and affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church, also operates schools of medicine and law and offers 50 graduate and 86 undergraduate programs in its 13 colleges/schools. Sixteen NCAA Division I athletics teams including baseball, basketball, swimming, and cross country compete for the University. Webster University, located in suburban Webster Groves, awards baccalaureate and master's degrees in 13 bachelors and 9 graduate programs. The University of Missouri at Saint Louis is both a graduate and undergraduate institution and part of the state university system. More than 16,000 students attend classes on the 300-acre campus; The University of Missouri at St. Louis is the third largest university in Missouri. Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, also a state university, is in neighboring Edwardsville, Illinois.

Fontbonne College, Harris-Stowe State College, Maryville University, Missouri Baptist University, and Saint Louis Christian College are four-year institutions located in the St. Louis area; the St. Louis Conservatory of Music offers both graduate and undergraduate programs. Theological schools in the city include Covenant Theological Seminary, Concordia Seminary and Eden Theological Seminary. St. Louis Community College is the largest community college in Missouri and one of the largest in the United States; the college's three campuses offer college transfers, career and developmental programs, and non-credit courses. There are several large technical and vocational schools in the region.

Libraries and Research Centers

A variety of public and private libraries are maintained in St. Louis by various organizations and institutions. The Saint Louis Public Library operates a main facility, a bookmobile, and 15 branches with holdings of 2.8 million book volumes and bound periodicals, periodical titles, and CDs, micro-fiches, films, audio- and videotapes, slides, maps, and art reproductions. Special collections include African American history, genealogy, architecture, and federal and state documents. The Saint Louis County Library, with 19 branches and 9 bookmobiles, maintains a primary facility housing more than 2.3 million books and federal, state, and county documents; the library also offers a special collection in genealogy. The Missouri Historical Society holds a reference collection on topics pertaining to regional and state history.

Most area colleges and universities maintain substantial campus libraries; among the most extensive is the Washington University Libraries system.

The city is fast becoming a center for the bio-tech industry; the industry is supported by several research facilities in this area. Monsanto's multimillion-dollar agricultural headquarters and Life Science Research Center are both based in St. Louis, comprising one of the world's largest and most sophisticated facilities searching for ways to improve agriculture through biotechnology and genetic engineering. The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center is another major component in the area's biotech development, along with the 40,000 square foot plant and life sciences incubator, the Nidus Center.

The Sigma-Aldrich Corp Life Science Technology Center is a $57 million, four-story research and technology center near its headquarters in mid-town St. Louis. The center is home to 220 life science chemists and also serves as a corporate learning center. The 150,000-square-foot building makes possible continuing technical discovery that builds on Sigma-Aldrich's half-century of success in advancing life through science through development of life science and high-tech products.

Public Library Information: Saint Louis Public Library, 1301 Olive Street, St. Louis, MO 63103; telephone (314)241-2288; fax (314)539-0393. Saint Louis County Library, 1640 S. Lindbergh Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63131; telephone (314)994-3300; fax (314)997-7602