‘In the Top Echelon’
UC Santa Barbara has moved up a notch in Washington Monthly magazine’s annual National Universities Rankings. Continuing its upward trajectory, UCSB is ranked number 14 on the 2015 list, which appears in the magazine’s September/October issue.
The campus came in at number 15 in last year’s rankings and number 22 in 2013.
In addition, UCSB is listed at number 17 in the magazine’s “Best Bang for the Buck” rankings in the Western Schools category. The university also is highlighted in the magazine’s College Guide as one of 10 “Access Improvers,” colleges and universities that have increased their enrollments of federally funded Pell Grant students while maintaining strong student outcomes.
“The University of California, Santa Barbara, for example, is in the top echelon of its state’s universities, serving students of variable income and ability,” wrote Mamie Voight, director of policy research at the Institute for Higher Education, and Colleen Campbell, a senior policy analyst at the Association of Community College Trustees. “Yet 38 percent of Santa Barbara students are low income, compared to only 15 percent at Penn State, and Santa Barbara charges low-income students about half as much.”
While U.S. News & World Report usually awards its highest ratings to private universities, the editors of Washington Monthly prefer to give public universities more credit, and higher rankings. Fifteen of the top 20 universities in the Washington Monthly rankings are taxpayer-funded.
Among the criteria considered by Washington Monthly are the percentage of students receiving Pell Grants; the difference between predicted and actual graduation rates; total research spending; Peace Corps service by graduates; community service participation; faculty awards; and faculty members elected to national academies.
Regarding the Best Bang for the Buck rankings, the magazine’s editors describe it as their “exclusive list of the colleges in America that do the best job of helping non-wealthy students attain marketable degrees at affordable prices.” Of the 1,540 colleges and universities in the broader rankings, only 386 qualified as Best Bang for the Buck schools. And of those, UCSB landed in the top 20.
More information, including the complete rankings, is available at Washington Monthly College Guide.