In its ratings using the Obama administration’s criteria of assessing schools, Time magazine has listed California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) among the top 10 best value colleges and universities in the nation based on graduation rate, tuition costs and percentage of students who receive Pell Grants, the federal low-income scholarship.
The magazine gathered data for 2,500 campuses across the country and ranked them according to the White House’s proposed metrics.
“This newest ranking is another confirmation that Cal State Long Beach is among the nation’s best values in higher education,” said CSULB Interim President Donald J. Para. “We offer our students a high-quality, low-cost education. And, no matter what the criteria, different publications continuously recognize us as one of the country’s best value institutions, whether it be Time magazine, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine or the Princeton Review/USA Today rankings.”
UC Riverside topped the list at No. 1 as it scored the highest in the Time simulation of President Barack Obama’s proposed college ratings scorecard. Three other UC campuses were also in the top 10—UC San Diego at No. 2, UC Irvine at No. 4, and UC Davis at No. 6. CSULB was the only CSU campus in the top 10. The next two CSUs ranked were Fresno State and CSU Stanislaus, which were listed at No. 21 and 22, respectively.
All of the data used in the Time ratings comes from the Department of Education’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System. Each school is evaluated according to its six-year graduation rate, the percentage of full-time, first-time undergraduates receiving Pell grants and the net cost for students receiving any form of aid whose families make less than $110,000 a year.
The Obama Administration announced its plan to assess schools on how well they serve their students using this criteria last year, which has created some apprehension at some institutions across the country. Some college presidents believe the ratings proposed by the White House will not reflect the true value of their institutions. Administration officials, on the other hand, note that too many below-par schools are raking in federal student loan dollars while not worrying about whether or not their students graduate.
By rewarding both accessibility and graduation rate in its ranking, the White House system also will prevent institutions from boosting their graduation rates by not admitting students from low-income backgrounds, who are less likely to graduate.