UC Davis

UCs top Washington Monthly rankings; UCD 23rd

By From page A1 | August 28, 2013

University of California campuses again dominate Washington Monthly’s 2013 rankings of national universities, which are based on research, promoting economic mobility and public service.

UC Davis, though, continued falling from a lofty perch. It rests 23rd this year, down from 17th last year. The Davis campus was sixth in 2010, eighth in 2011.

UC San Diego retained its top spot for the third straight year, followed by UC Riverside — which jumped from ninth. The magazine’s editor’s slotted UC Berkeley fifth for the second straight year, UCLA 10th (down from ninth) and UC Santa Barbara 22nd (down from 14th).

While the eighth-annual list, released Monday, isn’t watched as anxiously as the U.S. News and World Report rankings, it’s proved a hit with UC leaders who’ve said it’s more consistent with the university’s overall mission.

The magazine’s focus yields very different results: 14 of its top 20 universities are public. All those in the top 20 of the last U.S. News ranking were private institutions.

This year, UCD dropped in promoting social mobility — recruiting and graduating low-income students — from 67th to 71st. That despite a graduation rate holding steady at 82 percent and the percentage of students receiving Pell Grants increasing from 38 to 39 percent.

UCD was eighth in the social mobility category in 2011, before a change in the magazine’s methodology. It now takes the gap between predicted graduation rates, based on student characteristics, and actual graduation rates, then divides it by the average price that first-time, full-time students pay after aid.

Other areas in which UCD fell, most by small increments, were: number of bachelor’s recipients who go on to receive Ph.D.s, relative to school size, percentage of faculty receiving significant awards, percentage of faculty in national academies and ROTC.

UCD was also docked points in a sort of catch-all community service category that incorporates staff supporting community service relative to staff size, academic courses incorporating service relative to school size and whether an institution provides scholarships for community service.

In a separate ranking of “best bang for the buck” schools — defined as institutions which “do the best job of helping nonwealthy students attain marketable degrees” — the magazine ranked UCD 25th.

Also near the head of the class: 6, San Diego State University; 15, UC Riverside; 16, UC Berkeley; 19, UC Irvine; 21, UCLA; 22, UC San Diego.

The magazine’s editors placed 349 schools out of the 1,572 they ranked overall onto the bargain list, which was topped by the University of Florida.

To earn a spot, colleges had to have: more than 20 percent of students receive Pell Grants, which typically go to students with less than $50,000 in family income, a graduation rate of better than 50 percent, a graduation rate that exceeded a predicted rate for low-income students, and a student loan default rate of less than 10 percent. The schools were then ranked by the cost to attend them.

The magazine ranked the top 50 community colleges for the first time this year. No California schools made the list, which was topped by St. Paul (Minn.) College.

The editors named Bryn Mawr College (Pa.) top liberal arts college (California’s highest ranked: Harvey Mudd College, fourth), Trinity College of Texas top master’s university (California State University-Dominguez Hills, eighth) and Elizabeth City (N.C.) State University top baccalaureate college (California Maritime Academy, 101st).

Online: http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/college_guide/

Cory Golden

Cory Golden

The Enterprise's higher-education and congressional reporter. http://about.me/cory_golden
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