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The U.S. News and World Report’s 2017 Best College rankings issued today again placed Fresno State among the top three best public universities in graduation rate performance nationwide.

Fresno State scored third highest among public national universities and was No. 4 overall this year. Last year, the University ranked No. 1 among public national universities and No. 3 among all national universities.

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.

Also, Fresno State was ranked No. 2 in the category “Least Percent of Grads with Debt” among public national universities and No. 8 among all national universities. Fifty-one percent of students graduating in 2018 will have an average debt of $18,221 compared to the national average student debt of $30,000.

Fresno State achieved a strong showing despite reporting a far lower educational expenditure per student than most universities. Yale, which ranked No. 3 overall, spends the most, an average of $213,186 per student each year. The national average is $37,373, while Fresno State spends $13,308 per student each year.

“This national ranking is another indication that Fresno State is providing a high-quality, cost-effective education,” said University President Joseph I. Castro. “The obtainment of a university education is one of the most powerful ways to positively change the trajectory of a person, a family and a community.”

Fresno State’s reclassification as a doctoral university in 2016 means it has joined the top research universities in the nation in rankings produced by the magazine.

Among the 23 campuses in the California State University system, Fresno State is one of four to compete at the national level, including San Diego State University, CSU Fullerton and San Francisco State.

“To again be ranked so highly among other nationally prestigious universities is a great testament to our faculty, staff and especially our students whose bold academic successes year-in and year-out demonstrate the high quality of education Fresno State delivers,” said Provost Lynnette Zelezny.

U.S. News and World Report evaluates campuses on multiple factors for its overall national ranking. 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.

The positive news of the U.S. News ranking follows last month’s ranking of Fresno State as No. 17 in the nation by Washington Monthly, a D.C.-based magazine that ranks institutions on social mobility, research and service. That magazine cited Fresno State as an “instructive example” of schools that enroll many low-income students and help them graduate.