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Washington Monthly

Cal State Fullerton Among Top 'Best Bang for the Buck' Schools Again

Ranked No. 4 Nationally by Washington Monthly for Second Straight Year

August 25, 2014

For the second straight year, Cal State Fullerton leads the pack of “Best Bang for the Buck” universities in California and is No. 4 nationally, according to the 2014 rankings released today by Washington Monthly. Last year, California State University, Fullerton also was ranked No. 4 in the nation.

The magazine’s annual rankings, published this year in its September-October 2014 issue, “are based on the economic value students receive per dollar” at the nation’s universities and colleges.

Washington Monthly editors describes its list as "those colleges in America that do the best job of helping non-wealthy students attain marketable degrees at affordable prices."

"Out of the 1,540 colleges and universities in our broader rankings, only 386 made the cut as Best Bang for the Buck schools, the majority of them public institutions."

The first three top-ranked schools on this year’s list of master's universities are City University of New York campuses (Brooklyn, Queens and Baruch), followed by Cal State Fullerton at No. 4.

In a separate 'Public Good' ranking of master’s universities based on "the value of their contribution to the public good," five CSU campuses make it in the top 25, including: Fresno (#6), Los Angeles (#7), Dominguez Hills (#10), Fullerton (#21) and Humboldt (#23).

As the editors explain it, the institutional ranking is based on three categories: “Social Mobility (recruiting and graduating low-income students), Research (producing cutting-edge scholarship and PhDs), and Service (encouraging students to give something back to their country).”

Washington Monthly's annual College Guide "rate[s] colleges based on how well they perform with the students they have, regardless of the students’ backgrounds or SAT scores, on metrics that measure the widely shared national goals of increasing social mobility, producing research and inspiring public service.”

First introduced in 2005, the ranking is compiled by tabulating institutional showings in the three categories, which are weighted equally and rely on publicly available data. This year, that includes data that universities and colleges report to the Corporation for National and Community Service in their applications for the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.

“Colleges that are both effective and inexpensive get the highest marks,” report the editors.

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