Education Lab

Here’s where Fresno State ranks on a list for colleges that best serve the country

Fresno State has once again been ranked in the top 25 universities in the country by Washington Monthly magazine.

The school has met that bar for four straight years, landing this year at No. 24 out of 395 institutions of higher education, according to the magazine.

Also on that list are six Ivy League schools, six University of California campuses, MIT and top-ranked Stanford University.

Fresno State President Joseph I. Castro said the school is proud to be recognized as a leading public university for expanding opportunities to diverse students and conducting beneficial research, according to a news release.

“Just as importantly, these rankings place a premium on public service, which transforms our surrounding communities, where more than 80% of our alumni choose to stay and work,” Castro said.

Washington Monthly uses criteria for what it calls “a different kind of college ranking,” focusing on colleges that best serve the country. Some of the highlights included:

An increasing number of undergraduates have opportunities to work with faculty on research at Fresno State, according to the news release. A record $45 million in research grants and contracts were awarded to the university last year.

Thousands of students, faculty and staff provided more than 1 million hours of volunteer service to the community every year for the past decade.

Nearly 6,000 students, about 63% of whom are the first in their families to go to college, graduated from Fresno State in May. That’s the largest class in the school’s history.

Some of the schools on the list are wealthy and can provide low-income students financial aid and support, but that model is hard to replicate for many universities, the release said.

“Real improvement will mean following the example of institutions like (Fresno State), our 24th-ranked national university, which enrolls an unusually large number of low-income and first-generation students and helps them graduate into good-paying jobs,” the magazine said.

The university two weeks ago ranked No. 35 in Money Magazine’s top 50 “Best Public Colleges” list, which measures the affordability of nationally competitive institutions.

Fresno State enrolled about 23,622 students this fall and about 89% are from the Central Valley, according to numbers from the university. The school looks to open up admissions to about 1,000 more upper-division transfer students this spring.

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Reporter Thaddeus Miller has covered cities in the central San Joaquin Valley since 2010, writing about everything from breaking news to government and police accountability. A native of Fresno, he joined The Fresno Bee in 2019 after time in Merced and Los Banos.
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