Education Lab

U.S. News releases best colleges list. Here’s where Central Valley schools rank

U.S. News & World Report has revealed its 2020 rankings for the best colleges and universities in the United States and once again Fresno State, Fresno Pacific University and UC Merced were well represented on the list.

Fresno State was No. 211 in the national ranking of schools. That is just a few slots lower than last year’s ranking of 205.

When it comes to top public schools, Fresno State did better, ranking No. 101 in the nation (up from 112 last year).

UC Merced was No. 104 in the overall national ranking and No. 44 for public schools nationally.

Fresno Pacific ranked highest of the three schools. The Christian university was No. 31 among regional universities in the West. Last year it ranked 49.

Other takeaways from the report:

Student outcomes and social mobility

UC Merced ranked first in the nation for student outcomes, according to the report. The school tied with UCLA and UC Irvine.

The ranking is based on six-year graduation rates, first-year retention rates and graduation performances rates. It also takes into account the report’s social mobility rankings.

Merced ranked No. 7 for its social mobility ranking, which is new to this year’s report and accesses the graduation rates of Pell Grant recipients. Fresno State was No. 27 on social mobility ranking. Fresno Pacific was No. 4 for universities in the West.

Student debt

Fresno State is a good school for those looking to graduate without much student debt. According to the report, only 29% of students graduated with debt, with a median amount of $14,367.

For comparison, at Clark Atlanta University 83% of students graduate with an average of $31,000 in debt.

Nationally ranked programs

Fresno State was nationally ranked for its undergraduate business and engineering programs, ranking No. 260 and No. 68, respectively.

Best value

Both UC Merced and Fresno Pacific were ranked as “best value schools,” when considering both academic quality and cost. UC Merced ranked 146 in the nation, with a total cost of $63,400 in 2018. Fresno Pacific was No. 35 for it region, with a total cost of $45,287 in 2018.

Diverse schooling

The report found that all three schools fared decently in terms of ethnic diversity — how likely an undergraduate would be to find students of other racial and ethnic groups. Each school on the list was rated on a scale of 0 to 1, with highest scores correlating to a more diverse population.

Fresno State had a diversity index of .60.

UC Merced and Fresno Pacific each rated .59.

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