UC campuses dominate top of Washington Monthly rankings

UC San Diego tops the socially conscious list for the fifth year in a row, Washington Monthly says

Four UC campuses -- San Diego, Riverside, Berkeley and Los Angeles -- placed in top spots in annual “socially conscious” rankings of national universities being released Monday by Washington Monthly magazine.

For the fifth year in a row, the San Diego campus topped the Washington Monthly list which emphasizes such factors as enrolling and graduating low-income students, supporting research and encouraging students’ public service. UC Riverside was second, followed by UC Berkeley, Texas A&M, UCLA, Stanford, University of Washington, University of Texas-El Paso, Case Western Reserve and Harvard in the top 10.

The Washington Monthly article about the rankings praised the UC system for having "a distinct blend of size, diversity and research excellence. By enrolling top students from a huge state with a highly varied population, UC campuses are able to balance academic excellence with scientific prowess and a commitment to enrolling low-income students that is unmatched at similar national universities.”

It said that UC Riverside “stands out as a model for other public universities” in aiding the upward social mobility of its students.

Other California schools in the top 100 of national universities were UC Santa Barbara, 15; UC Davis, 16; Caltech, 52; USC, 72; UC Santa Cruz, 79; UC Irvine, 83; and San Diego State, 87.

Among the factors Washington Monthly uses are the percentage of students who receive Pell Grants, the federal aid for low-income students; the net price of attendance after financial aid; the numbers of students who join the Peace Corps and ROTC; and faculty awards for research.

The Washington Monthly ranking is radically different from other prominent listings such as the one compiled by U.S. News & World Report, which places more emphasis on a school’s financial endowment, academic reputation and selectivity in admission. For example, in the U.S. News’ most recent listing, Princeton was first, followed by Harvard and Yale, while Washington Monthly had them at numbers 27, 57 and 10 respectively. UC San Diego was 39; UC Riverside, 112 and UC Berkeley, 20 in the U.S. News survey. 

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