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A ‘Best Value’ in California, the West

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Cal State Fullerton continues to be among the nation’s “Best Bang for the Buck” universities, according to Washington Monthly, which today released its annual rankings of “schools that do the best job helping non-rich students earn marketable degrees at affordable prices.”

Cal State Fullerton is No. 7 in the West and No. 5 in California for “best value.” CSUF is cited as an example of schools that “deliver for their students big-time.”

Washington Monthly describes the “Best Bang for the Buck” ranking as “the best value for your money based on ‘net’ (not sticker) price, how well [institutions] do graduating the students they admit, and whether those students go on to earn at least enough to pay off their loans.”

This is the fourth consecutive year, CSUF has been selected for the list, which put the University of Washington-Seattle at the top of “Best Bang for the Buck” colleges and universities in the West.

In the magazine’s separate “public good-based rankings,” CSUF is No. 23 in the nation and No. 6 in California among universities that award mostly bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

“We rate schools based on their contribution to the public good in three broad categories: Social Mobility (recruiting and graduating low-income students), Research (producing cutting-edge scholarship and Ph.Ds.), and Service (encouraging students to give something back to their country),” explains Washington Monthly on its website.

Topping this overall ranking among master’s-granting universities is Valparaiso University of Indiana. Among national universities, UC San Diego is No. 1.

The magazine includes the following questions on its website covering areas examined in developing its rankings: “Are [colleges and universities] educating low-income students, or just catering to the affluent? Are they improving the quality of their teaching, or ducking accountability for it? Are they trying to become more productive — and if so, why is average tuition rising faster than healthcare costs? Every year we lavish billions of tax dollars and other public benefits on institutions of higher learning. This guide asks: Are we getting the most for our money?”