UC Riverside registers nation’s greatest gain in U.S. News & World Report rankings

UCR moves up 39 positions in Best Colleges 2019

New recognition of Pell Grant and social mobility metrics by U.S. News helped buoy UCR in the magazine’s annual Best Colleges rankings.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu) —UC Riverside made larger gains than any university in the United States in the 2019 U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges rankings.

UCR jumped 39 positions in the 2019 rankings, from No. 124 in 2018, to No. 85. UCR is ranked the No. 35 public university in the nation for 2019. The rankings were released Monday, Sept. 10.

“I’m heartened that more university ranking systems are beginning to recognize diversity, social mobility, and student success as hallmarks of what make a great university – as opposed to exclusivity and wealth as primary measures,” said Kim A. Wilcox, chancellor of UC Riverside.

This year’s list represents a major change in rankings methodology for U.S. News. The magazine, which began its Best Colleges list in 1983, has the most cited rankings system, but one that has been maligned for the weight it affords exclusivity and wealth.

U.S. News measures factors including outcomes, faculty resources, peer opinion, financial resources, student excellence, and alumni giving. For the 2019 rankings, U.S. News dropped one indicator – acceptance rates – and added weight to outcomes, which considers a school’s success at retaining and graduating students within six years.

But the biggest factor in UCR’s gains was the addition of a social mobility category. Social mobility considers the degree to which a university moves its graduates from the lowest to the highest income brackets.

UCR graduates more low-income, or Pell Grant, students than any university in the United States. Its six-year Pell Grant graduation rate most recently registered 73 percent — 24 percentage points higher than the national average. More than 50 percent of UCR’s students are Pell Grant recipients.

“By including social mobility indicators, U.S. News is further recognizing colleges that serve all of their students, regardless of economic status,” said Robert Morse, chief data strategist for U.S. News. Morse, who created the rankings system more than 30 years ago, said Best Colleges places the greatest weight on graduation and retention rates.

The 2019 U.S. News list is led by Princeton, Harvard, Columbia, MIT, University of Chicago, Yale, and Stanford. Six other University of California schools are in the top 100 with UCR, the highest ranked of which is UCLA at No. 19.

It has been a heady fall for UCR in college rankings. This past month, UCR was named the No. 28 university in the U.S. by Washington Monthly, and No. 32 by Money magazine.

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