Fresno State’s efforts to improve graduation rates is paying off not only at Commencement for students, but also in recognition by Washington Monthly magazine in its annual rankings of how effectively universities serve their students

Overall, Washington Monthly ranked Fresno State 10th in the nation among master’s degree-granting universities and second in the California State University system.

The magazine designed a ranking system “to rate colleges based on how well they perform with the students they have, regardless of the students’ backgrounds or SAT scores … ” It uses social mobility, research and public service as measuring sticks and it factors in “the average price that first-time, full-time students pay after subtracting the need-based financial aid they receive.”

The magazine reported that Fresno State has a predicted graduation rate of 39 percent when adjusted for background factors, but has an actual graduation rate of 51 percent.

“As a member of the Presidents’ Alliance for Student Learning and Accountability, Fresno State has committed to gathering, reporting on and using evidence to improve student learning,” the magazine reported.

“Using data has helped the institution to see where students fall through the cracks – those who are between their second and third years, especially those who lack connections and relationships with their major department,” added Washington Monthly. “With this knowledge, department chairs reach out to every student between their second and third years to act as a point of contact and to provide support.”

Associated Students Inc. President Arthur Montejano said the magazine’s high ranking of Fresno State isn’t surprising. The university does “a really great job of embracing the students and helping them be successful,” he said.

He praised the university’s efforts to get every new student involved in campus and community activities outside the classroom, too. Montejano said the amount of personal contact by faculty, staff and other students give students “the feeling like someone’s invested in them.”

Provost William Covino said of the Washington Monthly report, “It’s nice to be recognized and to see our efforts are more visible around the country.”

Improving graduation and retention rates, Covino said, is particularly noteworthy in a period of fiscal hardship for the state of California.

Covino credited recent success “to the dedication of the faculty, the staff and the administration here at Fresno State. We’re keeping the focus on the students and that’s what’s most important.”

For more information visit The Washington Monthly – The Magazine.