Courtesy Fresno State News
Fresno State graduation.
Fresno State graduation.
Photo Courtesy Fresno State

Academics at Fresno State are garnering national attention with the release of rankings from Washington Monthly Magazine and U.S. News and World Report.

Last month, Washington Monthly selected Fresno State alongside seven Ivy League institutions, five University of California campuses and Stanford University on a list of the top 30 national universities. The D.C.-based magazine known for its annual rankings of American colleges and universities placed Fresno State No. 25 in the nation.

Washington Monthly has been ranking colleges and universities for 11 years with what it calls “a different kind of college ranking,” focusing on three pillars: social mobility, research and service.

The University was cited as an “instructive example” of schools that enroll many low-income students and help them graduate. Given the high number of undergraduates that are first-generation students and the fact that the majority have incomes low enough to qualify for a federal Pell Grant, Fresno State “has a higher graduation rate than is typical, given those demographics, and a highly affordable net price,” the magazine reported.

Fresno State’s graduation rates were also recognized by U.S. News and World Report, which identified it as the nation’s best public university in graduation rate performance in the 2017 Best College rankings, issued September 13.

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. Fresno State scored highest among public universities and was No. 3 overall.

“This national recognition is more evidence of Fresno State’s positive academic and athletic trajectory. We are living our new Strategic Plan’s mission to boldly educate and empower our students for success,” said Fresno State President Joseph I. Castro. “Our faculty and staff use their extraordinary gifts to develop the next generation of leaders for the Central Valley and beyond.

“We’ve chosen to work as one with our community, and our partnerships with Fresno State alumni and many philanthropic friends have made an enormous difference in our success,” Castro said.

U.S. News and World Report evaluates campuses on multiple factors. 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.

Fresno State’s reclassification as a doctoral university means it has joined the top research universities in the nation in rankings produced by the magazine. This year the University ranked in the first tier of all schools and was No. 220 in the nation.

Fresno State achieved a strong showing despite reporting far lower educational expenditure per student than most universities. Yale, which ranked No. 3 overall, spends the most, an average of $222,546 per student each year. The national average is $37,373, while Fresno State spends just $12,030 per student each year.

“Fresno State is providing life changing educational opportunities for our students, more than two-thirds of whom will be the first in their families to earn a college degree,” said Provost Lynnette Zelezny. “Our inclusion in the national rankings speaks to the growing academic distinction of our students and faculty.”