UCR is on Top, According to Time Magazine

When considering accessibility, affordability and graduation rates equally, UCR is first in the nation

A hilltop view of UC Riverside

UC Riverside is basking in the spotlight, because Time magazine decided to predict the colleges that would emerge at the top in the ratings system that is being proposed by the Obama Adminstration.

The magazine used three factors, and data from the Department of Education’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System:

  • Six-year graduation rate;
  • Percentage of full-time, first-time undergraduates receiving Pell grants; and
  • Net cost for students receiving aid, and whose families’ annual incomes were below $110,000.

If you take the three factors, and weigh them equally, UC Riverside sits on top of that rating.

Sitting at the top of that list means that UC Riverside takes its share of students – who are the first in their family to go to college — and gives them the tools and support to graduate at an affordable cost.

The commitment of the faculty to these upwardly mobile students is a hallmark of the campus, said Steven Brint, vice provost of undergraduate education. “Our faculty and staff are truly exceptional in their commitment,” Brint said. “We’re helping hard-working students achieve well beyond expectations.Our students are inspirational, and we are proud of them. Our secret is that we hold them to high standards, provide support from faculty and staff, and most of them meet our high standards.”

The White House announced a federal rating system last year, aiming to create a simple way to evaluate schools and the value they offer their students. When it is finished, the University of California system is likely to be ranked up top, especially if it factors in serving low-income families with a high-quality education.

The UC takes a third of all tuition money and returns it to financial aid programs.  That is the way it has been for decades, and it follows the concept of the California Master Plan for Higher Education, that all qualified California students should have a way to  complete their college educations, if they have the motivation and self-discipline to do so.

“We’ve known for a long time that we are a top research university in terms of faculty scientific and scholarly achievements,” Brint said.  ‘We have long suspected that we are also at the top when it comes to the contribution we make to society through the social mobility ladders we provide at an affordable cost. Now Time magazine has confirmed it.  In the future when people think of the greatness of American higher education, they will think not only of Harvard and Stanford but of the extraordinary mix of creative accomplishment and democratic idealism we have built on this campus.”

A variety of news outlets have reported on the Time magazine system with UCR at the top of the list. Most notably, it was in the Sacramento Bee, with the headline, “The Buzz: UC Riverside is best college value, according to Time’s Obama-style rankings.”

The report and rankings can be found on Time magazine’s website.

KPCC interviews someone from Time magazine.

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E-mail: john.warren@ucr.edu

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