Education

UCs again dominate ranking of nation’s public universities. Here’s how Davis, others fared

Check out Sacramento State’s new planetarium

Sacramento State opens a new digital planetarium in the Ernest T. Tschannen Science Complex on Monday, Aug. 26, 2019 in Sacramento. Listen to CSUS astronomy professor Kyle Watters narrate a tour that includes the constellations and Jupiter.
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Sacramento State opens a new digital planetarium in the Ernest T. Tschannen Science Complex on Monday, Aug. 26, 2019 in Sacramento. Listen to CSUS astronomy professor Kyle Watters narrate a tour that includes the constellations and Jupiter.

University of California campuses once again dominated the list of the nation’s top public schools as U.S. News & World Report released its rankings for the 2020 best colleges on Monday.

UCLA maintained its spot as the No. 1 public school among national universities, followed by UC Berkeley and the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. Four other UC campuses made the top 20: UC Santa Barbara, UC Irvine, UC San Diego, and UC Davis at No. 11 – a slide from its No. 10 position in 2019.

Among Western regional universities, Sacramento State ranked 55th out of 82 schools.

The highest ranked California campus among national public and private schools overall was Stanford University, at No. 6. Also making the top 20 were California Institute of Technology at No. 12 and UCLA at No. 20. UC Davis ranked 38 on the list, earning the same position as last year.

The top overall school was No. 1 Princeton University, with Harvard University at No. 2, and three schools tying for third place: Columbia University, MIT and Yale.

“For more than three decades, we’ve collected and analyzed data on thousands of colleges and universities across the country and helped put schools on the map,” said Kim Castro, editor and chief content officer of U.S. News. “We’ve found the best institutions to be ones committed to academically and financially supporting their students through graduation. They draw in high-quality professors and set students up for postgraduate success.”

The report ranked nearly 1,400 colleges and universities.

New to the report this year was a list of top universities on social mobility, which used Pell Grants as a proxy measure to rank schools. By looking at enrollment and graduation rates of low-income students, three California schools topped the list: UC Riverside held the highest position, followed by UC Santa Cruz and UC Irvine.

The data for the 2020 edition of Best Colleges was gathered by U.S. News in spring 2019.

The school rankings, according to U.S. News, are based on a formula that uses statistics to measure graduation rates, social mobility, faculty information, admissions data and academic reputation. U.S. News says it rigorously assesses the data that schools submit in order to ensure it is accurate.

Not all colleges and universities are ranked. One of the most common reasons to be unranked is if a school does not use the SAT or ACT exams in its admissions process.

U.S. News estimates that it costs more than $290,000 to earn a college degree, and the rankings helps students make informed decisions about their future.

This story was changed Sept. 9, 2019, to correct the public school ranking of UC Davis.

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Sawsan Morrar covers school accountability and culture for The Sacramento Bee. She grew up in Sacramento and is an alumna of UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. She previously freelanced for various publications including The Washington Post, Vice, KQED and Capital Public Radio.
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