The U.S. News and World Report’s 2018 Best College rankings issued today again placed Fresno State among the top three best public universities in graduation-rate performance nationwide.

Fresno State scored third highest among public national universities for the second consecutive year and was No. 5 overall this year.

The graduation-rate performance category uses the University’s actual performance as compared to predicted performance based on student demographics, including spending per student, admissions selectivity and the proportion of undergraduates receiving Pell grants.

Also, Fresno State was again ranked No. 2 in the category “Least Percent of Grads with Debt” among public national universities and No. 7 among all national universities, improving from the No. 8 spot last year. Forty-seven percent of students graduating in 2019 will have an average debt of $18,308 compared to the national average student debt of $28,245.

Fresno State also moved up 18 positions in U.S. News and World Report’s overall rankings, coming in at No. 205 this year compared to 223 last year. Fresno State is No. 112 among public schools, compared to No. 129 last year.

“Fresno State’s continued recognition in these national rankings speaks to the transformative educational opportunity we offer to our 25,000 students,” said University President Joseph I. Castro. “About 80 percent of our graduates stay and work in the Valley. By providing our students with a quality and affordable education, Fresno State is preparing a new generation of bold leaders who will guide the region to new heights of success.”

Fresno State’s reclassification as a Carnegie doctoral university in 2016 means it has 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.

Among the 23 campuses in the California State University system, Fresno State is one of four to compete at the national level in the U.S. News rankings, including San Diego State University, CSU Fullerton and San Francisco State. Of the four CSU’s included in the rankings, only San Diego State University was ranked higher than Fresno State, at No. 127.

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 and undergraduate academic reputation, followed by faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources, graduation-rate performance and alumni giving.

The positive news of the U.S. News ranking follows last month’s ranking of Fresno State as No. 24 in the nation by Washington Monthly, a D.C.-based magazine that ranks institutions on social mobility, research and service. This is the third straight year Fresno State has ranked in Washington Monthly’s top 25.

Washington Monthly puts more emphasis on social mobility, research and service to community than U.S. News does, which benefits Fresno State’s ranking. Fresno State set a record with 1.44 million hours of service to the community during the 2017-18 academic year.

In the Washington Monthly ranking, Fresno State was selected alongside seven Ivy League institutions, including top-ranked Harvard University; six University of California campuses; and MIT on the list. Fresno State ranks 12th among the 17 public institutions included in the rankings.

Fresno State also ranked No. 41 in MONEY Magazine’s 50 Best Public Colleges rankings for 2018-19. Fresno State was one of five California State University campuses included in the top 50, along with Chico, Dominguez Hills, Long Beach and Los Angeles.