Fresno State cracks Top 10 in key ranking for ‘social mobility,’ joining Fresno Pacific

Fresno State was ranked in a tie for eighth among U.S. public and private universities in social mobility, an assessment of how well schools graduate economically disadvantaged students to a higher standard of living.

It made a big jump, up from No. 30 a year ago, and is one of five California State University campuses in a Top 10 compiled by U.S. World and News Report in its Best Colleges Rankings. Long Beach State is No. 1 in the social mobility rankings, with Cal State Fullerton tied for No. 2, Cal State San Bernardino tied for No. 4 and San Francisco State tied with Fresno State and Oakland City University in Indiana at No. 8.

Fresno Pacific also was rated high in its social mobility category, ranked No 4 among regional universities in the West. It was tied there with Cal Poly Pomoma, as well as No. 12 among best value schools and in a tie for No. 41 overall with La Sierra University in Riverside and Montana Tech.

The social mobility category is one Fresno Pacific often has excelled — it was No. 2 in 2022.

“This high and significant ranking on social mobility is especially important for our students, their families and our region, as it means that Fresno State allows our students to find the best versions of themselves, and in doing so, they become the leaders we all need in our Valley and the world,” Fresno State President Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval said in a statement from the university.

“That’s why graduation day is so meaningful to me — we are graduating the leader-professionals who will strengthen communities and elevate the quality of life for everyone in our Valley.”

Fresno State earlier this month was No. 6 in a similar social mobility ranking by the Wall Street Journal/College Pulse. It also received 4.5 stars out of a 5-star rating in Money magazine’s list of best colleges for quality and affordability.

In the U.S. World and News Report social mobility rankings, UC Riverside was tied with Cal State Fullerton at No. 2 and UC Merced was tied with Cal State San Bernardino at No. 4.

The media company has published rankings of U.S. colleges and universities for 39 years, as well graduate schools, hospitals and mutual funds.

U.S. News and World Report refined its rankings formula this year, which allowed Fresno State to make a sizable jump in its ranking among national universities. U.S. News dropped five factors long-used in its formula for determining its rankings and modified others, while increasing an emphasis on graduation rates of students from all socioeconomic backgrounds. It also added a metric tied to first-generation college students.

Fresno State as a result is ranked in a tie for 185th among national universities by U.S. News and World Report, up 64 spots from a year ago. It also is ranked in a tie for 101st among public schools and 204th among best value schools.

The university was tied for No. 12 in electrical/electronic/communications, behind CSU campuses Cal Poly (No. 2), Cal Poly Pomona (No. 3), San Jose State (No. 8), Cal State Fullerton (tied for No. 9).

It also was tied for 49th among undergraduate engineering programs at schools where a doctorate degree is not offered and No. 129 among best colleges for veterans.

In determining its social mobility rankings, U.S. News and World Report aggregated two factors tied to the graduation rates of economically disadvantaged students who receive federal Pell Grants - six-year graduation rates and graduation rate performance, relative to students who did not have Pell Grants.

Students whose family income is less than $50,000 annually are eligible for federal Pell Grants.