Fresno State has proven year over year that it is a key driver in social mobility, providing a high-quality education at an affordable price to create opportunities for students to move from one socioeconomic class to another.

For the fifth consecutive year, Fresno State placed among the top five best universities for social mobility, ranking No. 5 out of 1,549 schools in the 2021 Social Mobility Index developed by CollegeNET. Last year, the University ranked No. 3. 

Baruch College in New York maintained its top-ranked position, followed by California State University, Los Angeles and Long Beach in second and third, and Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science in Los Angeles at No. 4. 

Three other CSU campuses followed Fresno State to round out the top 10. They include: CSU San Bernardino, Northridge and Dominguez Hills. CSU campuses accounted for 50% of the top 20 spots in this year’s rankings.

“This ranking shows how we, at Fresno State, transform lives through world-class comprehensive higher education, which in turn directly empowers the economic and social landscape of our communities,” said Fresno State President Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval. “Our alumni are the champions who uphold and further the quality of life of our vibrant region.” 

At Fresno State, there are students like Jorge Gomez Jr. working to better his life. Born in San Jose, Gomez Jr. is a first-generation American whose parents immigrated from Mexico. The family lived out of their van for a time before Gomez’s father found a job with a plastics company, which allowed them to rent an apartment. A childhood spent in and out of the hospital with his sick mother motivated him to pursue a nursing degree at Fresno State. 

The Social Mobility Index measures the extent to which a college or university educates more economically disadvantaged students at lower tuition, so they can graduate and get good-paying jobs.

Tuition cost, economic background, graduation rate, early career salary and the size of a school’s endowment are used to determine the rankings. Data was collected through third-party sources such as the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System.

This latest ranking comes after Fresno State ranked No. 3 among public national universities for graduation-rate performance in U.S. News and World Report’s 2022 Best Colleges Rankings in September. In October, the University ranked No. 54 among the best national universities in Washington Monthly’s 2021 College Rankings, and was the only California State University to make the top 100. Fresno State also ranked No. 41 in the Best Bang for the Buck: West category.