UCLA has been selected the No. 1 public university in the nation for the fourth year in a row and is the only UC campus to break into the top 20 of an overall national ranking of institutions of higher education by U.S. News & World Report.
Among all universities in the country, California Institute of Technology, a private school in Pasadena, came in as the highest-ranked institution in Southern California, at No. 12, followed by UCLA at No. 20. The University of Southern California tied with UC Berkeley at No. 22, and UC Irvine landed at No. 36.
In a separate list that only looked at public universities, five UC campuses made it to the top 10, with UC Irvine (No. 9) joining the No. 1-ranked UCLA on that list.
Bill Kisliuk, a spokesman for UCLA, said the school’s designation as the top public university reflects the depth and breadth of its academic programs.
“UCLA is routinely recognized as having more freshman applicants than any school in the country, greater economic diversity among our student body than our peers, and for providing great value for our students,” he said in a statement.
UC Riverside earned the No. 1 spot among schools recognized for their work in advancing social mobility among economically disadvantaged students. UC Irvine ranked third in that list.
More than 56% of UC Riverside students are first-generation college students, and over half receive Pell Grants, a form of federal financial aid given to low-income students, according to the university.
Riverside Chancellor Kim Wilcox said this is the second year in a row the school has been ranked No. 1 for social mobility performance. He credited that to a years-long effort to provide supports to traditionally underserved students and to building a culture in which diversity is celebrated. According to Wilcox, 84% of students at Riverside come from communities of color.
The university has worked hard to continue supporting students throughout the coronavirus pandemic, from making sure every class has a remote learning option to providing virtual counseling and health services via telemedicine, Wilcox said. It’s important, the chancellor said, to keep traditionally underserved students engaged during the public health crisis.
“If our students need a university education to advance them economically before the pandemic, students will need them even more after the pandemic,” he said. “We’re very invested in making sure all of our students continue to succeed.”
In determining this year’s rankings, U.S. News considered two new indicators for school affordability — the average amount of federal loan debt for full-time undergraduate students at graduation and the percentage of students in a graduating class who took out a federal loan. It also gave more weight this year to social mobility and graduation and retention rates while giving less consideration to factors like standardized test scores, high school class standings and alumni donations.
Another change to this year’s ranking reflects the increasing number of colleges that no longer require applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores. Schools that did not require such scores were not considered in the past, but they’re now included in this year’s rankings.
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U.S. News & World Report, University of California, College
Actu monde – US – UCLA ranked top public university in nation for fourth consecutive year