With a focus on social mobility, service and research, Washington Monthly magazine announced on Monday that Fresno State placed No. 24 out of 395 public and private colleges on its annual list of top national universities.

This is the fourth straight year Fresno State has ranked among the top 25 and the second consecutive year at No. 24. The University was selected alongside six Ivy League institutions, six University of California campuses, MIT and top-ranked Stanford University on the list.

“We are proud to be recognized as a leading public university in the nation for expanding educational opportunity for diverse students and conducting research that benefits all,” said Fresno State President Joseph I. Castro. “Just as importantly, these rankings place a premium on public service, which transforms our surrounding communities, where more than 80% of our alumni choose to stay and work.”

Washington Monthly has ranked colleges and universities for the past 15 years with what it calls “a different kind of college ranking,” calling attention to colleges that best serve the country instead of only those known for prestige and wealth.

Fresno State’s transformative educational experience combining classroom learning with hands-on experiences and community collaboration continues to push the University to new heights. Examples include:

  • An increasing number of undergraduates like senior Micah Olivas and junior Alyssa Rivera — 2019 Goldwater Scholarship winners — have opportunities to work with faculty on research. Both are looking at ways to treat cancer and other diseases. (A record $45 million in research grants and contracts were awarded to Fresno State last year.)
  • Thousands of students, faculty and staff volunteers provided more than 1 million hours of service to the community this past year and have done so every year over the past decade. They paint murals at local schools, work with community benefit organizations and run a camp for children dealing with a parent’s cancer diagnosis.
  • This past May, nearly 6,000 students, about 63% of whom are first-generation, graduated from Fresno State, the largest class in University history.

While the rankings include some wealthy, private research universities that are able to provide low-income students with generous financial aid and support, Washington Monthly said, those schools are using a model that can’t be replicated.

“Real improvement will mean following the example of institutions like [Fresno State], our 24th-ranked national university, which enrolls an unusually large number of low-income and first-generation students and helps them graduate into good-paying jobs,” the magazine said.

In 2018, Fresno State was one of just five institutions nationwide ranked both among the top 25 national universities by Washington Monthly and among the top 25 football programs in the final College Football Playoff rankings.

Two weeks ago, the University placed No. 35 in Money Magazine’s top 50 “Best Public Colleges” list, which measures the quality of education, affordability and outcomes.

Fresno State was reclassified as a Carnegie doctoral university in 2016, meaning it was reviewed the past four years with the nation’s top doctoral granting institutions rather than the top master’s universities. Fresno State offers doctoral degrees in nursing, physical therapy and educational leadership.

Enrollment at Fresno State this fall is about 23,622 students of which about 89% are from the Central Valley. Additional funding from the recently passed 2019-20 state budget will allow Fresno State to open up admissions to about 1,000 additional upper-division transfer students this spring.

Washington Monthly 2019 Top 30 National Universities:

  1. Stanford University
  2. Harvard University
  3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  4. Yale University
  5. Duke University
  6. University of Pennsylvania
  7. University of California, San Diego*
  8. Princeton University
  9. Georgetown University
  10. Texas A&M University, College Station*
  11. University of California, Davis*
  12. University of California, Los Angeles*
  13. Columbia University in the City of NY
  14. Utah State University*
  15. Brigham Young University
  16. University of Florida*
  17. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign*
  18. University of California, Irvine*
  19. University of Washington*
  20. University of California, Berkeley*
  21. University of California, Santa Barbara*
  22. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill*
  23. University of Wisconsin–Madison*
  24. California State University, Fresno*
  25. Cornell University
  26. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor*
  27. University of California, Riverside*
  28. Brown University
  29. Washington State University*
  30. University of Notre Dame

*Public Institution