Among the Nation’s Best

Washington Monthly ranks UCSB among 2016 top National Universities; also lauds campus for offering the “Best Bang for the Buck”

On its annual list of the country’s top universities, Washington Monthly has ranked UC Santa Barbara among the top 20. The 2016 National Universities ranking was released today in the magazine’s College Guide issue.

UCSB is ranked number 17 overall, and number 9 among public universities. In addition, it is number 19 in the magazine’s “Best Bang for the Buck” rankings in the Western Schools category. These exclusive rankings highlight the universities and colleges in America dedicated to making marketable degrees accessible to lower-income students.

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. Eleven of the top 20 universities in the Washington Monthly rankings are taxpayer-funded.

“UC Santa Barbara is among the institutions that are doing the best job of helping students attain marketable degrees at affordable prices,” said Paul Glastris, Washington Monthly editor-in-chief. “As students consider UCSB, they can be confident that the institution is committed to serving them — and the nation — well.”

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.

“On our rankings, public universities, which combine economic diversity with service and a commitment to knowledge production and research, have always done much better,” noted Kevin Carey, director of the Education Policy Program at New America and guest editor of the Washington Monthly College Guide issue. “That remains the case, with the majority of our top 20 national universities coming from the public sector, including the University of California.”

The complete Washington Monthly College Guide and rankings are available at

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