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The latest national ranking of the top universities in the United States shows Fresno State’s approach to student success is again among the nation’s best at combining academic excellence with economic opportunity.

Washington Monthly, a D.C.-based magazine known for its annual rankings of American colleges and universities, announced Monday that Fresno State placed No. 17 on its list of the top national universities, moving up eight spots from last year.

Fresno State was selected alongside six Ivy League institutions, six University of California campuses, MIT and top-ranked Stanford University on the list.

Fresno State has moved up eight spots on the ranking from last year. Photo Credit: The Fresno Bee


“Fresno State is proud to represent the California State University system in the top 30,” University President Joseph I. Castro said. Fresno State is one of just three schools in the over 400-member American Association of State Colleges and Universities to make the top 30. Fresno State and Utah State (No. 13) are the only Mountain West Conference schools to make the list.

Washington Monthly has been ranking colleges and universities for 12 years with what it calls “a different kind of college ranking” focusing on three pillars: social mobility, research and service. The rankings measure “what colleges do for their country,” recognizing universities that “produce research, train the next generation of scientists and PhDs and instill graduates with an ethos of public service.”

Fresno State was also the No. 1 school in the national university category in commitment to spending federal work-study funds on public service. At Fresno State, 69 percent of the work-study funds go to service.

Fresno State, as a University that enrolls many first-generation college students and helps them graduate, was cited by Washington Monthly for its “stellar graduation rate relative to other colleges with a similar admissions profile.” The magazine also said Fresno State’s “net price of attendance (what students pay after scholarships are deducted from tuition) is among the very lowest nationwide.”

This latest ranking is based on social mobility, research and service. 

Castro said Fresno State’s continued ascent up the national rankings is a testament to the hard work of students, faculty and staff on campus who are dedicated to improving graduation rates and increasing prosperity in the Central Valley and beyond.

“These national rankings are further proof that Fresno State’s commitment to boldly educate and empower our students for success is taking the University’s academic profile to new heights,” Castro said. “Our faculty and staff are supporting and engaging students in exciting new ways, and the University is working as one with the community to develop partnerships that can be transformational for our region, where more than 80 percent of our alumni choose to stay and work.”

Fresno State was reclassified as a Carnegie doctoral university in 2016, meaning it was reviewed the past two 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 at an all-time high of nearly 25,000 students, and more than 80 percent of those students are from the Central Valley.

Washington Monthly 2017 Top 30 National Universities:

  1. Stanford University
  2. Harvard University
  3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  4. Texas A&M University
  5. Georgetown University
  6. University of California, San Diego
  7. University of Pennsylvania
  8. University of Washington
  9. University of California, Davis
  10. Yale University
  11. Princeton University
  12. Duke University
  13. Utah State University
  14. University of California, Berkeley
  15. University of California, Los Angeles
  16. Columbia University
  17. California State University, Fresno
  18. University of Florida
  19. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
  20. University of California, Irvine
  21. University of California, Riverside
  22. University of Notre Dame
  23. University of North Carolina
  24. Washington State University
  25. Purdue University
  26. University of Wisconsin
  27. Dartmouth College
  28. Syracuse University
  29. Brigham Young University
  30. Illinois Institute of Technology

View original news release at the link.