Fresno State ranks 3rd in nation for graduation-rate performance

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  • US News Rankings

Fresno State ranks 3rd in nation for graduation-rate performance

For the third consecutive year, Fresno State has placed among the top three best public universities for graduation-rate performance in U.S. News and World Report’s 2020 Best College rankings issued today.

Fresno State scored third-highest among public national universities and was No. 4 overall in the national universities category, improving from the No. 5 spot last year.

The graduation-rate performance category uses the University’s actual six-year graduation rate compared to predicted performance based on admissions data, school financial resources, the proportion of federal financial aid recipients who are first-generation, math and science orientations and the proportion of undergraduates receiving Pell grants.

The first-generation variable is new for this year’s rankings and gives schools more credit for their graduation rates when accomplished.

“At Fresno State, we believe that talent exists in every household,” said Fresno State President Joseph I. Castro. “These rankings show that, through educating and empowering our students to obtain an academic degree, we are unleashing this talent to prepare a new generation of bold leaders for the Central Valley, the state and beyond.”

Fresno State’s quality and affordable education also was reflected in other categories of the U.S. News and World Report rankings.

  • The University ranked No. 6 for having the least debt load at graduation among public national universities and No. 18 among all national universities. Forty-one percent of the students who graduated in 2019 will have an average debt of $15,772 compared to the national average student debt of $29,475.
  • Fresno State moved up to No. 101 in overall rankings for public universities compared to No. 112 last year. San Diego State University is the only other California State University campus ranked on the list at No. 68.
  • In the new social-mobility category measuring how well schools graduate students who receive federal Pell Grants, meaning they come from low- and medium-income households, Fresno State ranked No. 27 ahead of San Diego State, which came in at No. 66.

Fresno State’s reclassification as a Carnegie doctoral university in 2016 means it joined the top research universities in the nation in rankings produced by the magazine. Fresno State offers doctoral degrees in nursing, physical therapy and educational leadership.

U.S. News and World Report evaluates campuses on multiple factors for its overall national ranking. The magazine gives the most weight to graduation and retention rates followed by faculty resources, academic reputation, financial resources, student excellence and alumni giving.

This year, the number of ranked universities grew as a result of changes in the Carnegie classifications. A slew of regional universities joined the national rankings category increasing the field of competition.

In other rankings
The U.S. News and World Report rankings follows last month’s announcement of Fresno State as No. 24 in Washington Monthly’s annual nationwide college rankings. The Washington D.C.-based magazine calls attention to colleges that best serve the community ranking institutions on social mobility, research and service.

This is the fourth straight year Fresno State has ranked in Washington Monthly’s top 25. Fresno State was the only California State University campus selected alongside six Ivy League institutions, including top-ranked Stanford University; six University of California campuses; and MIT on the list.

The University also ranked No. 35 in MONEY Magazine’s 50 Best Public Colleges rankings for 2019. Fresno State was one of 12 CSU campuses included in the top 50.