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Fresno State Climbs in Washington Monthly’s Annual Rankings

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Fresno State is celebrating its improved ranking on Washington Monthly's annual list of top universities. (GV Wire file photo)
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Fresno State improved its rankings among the best national colleges and universities, rising to No. 26 in Washington Monthly’s 2023 annual list of top universities, compared to No. 36 the previous year.

The university also ranked No. 13 in the Best Bang for the Buck: West category, improving from No. 22 last year, for how well it helps non-wealthy students attain marketable degrees at affordable prices. About 65% of Fresno State students are the first in their families to attend college.

In a sampling of 100 universities, Fresno State ranked No. 18 in the category of “Which College Boards Look Like Their Students?”

The rankings, published Aug. 28, come a week after Fresno State announced a new five-year strategic plan to lead the university in deepening its impact in the region. With a refreshed mission to empower students for success through a transformative education rooted in active service with diverse communities, Fresno State continues to earn national recognition in the areas of social mobility, research and civic engagement.

“This ranking shows our university’s heartfelt commitment to empower our talented students to achieve success, while making a difference in the region and beyond,” said Fresno State President Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval. “I am extremely proud of the work we have done and look forward to building on this achievement to create a Valley of opportunity for all. This is precisely the type of good news that elevates our brand to national and international levels.”

Contribution to the Public Good

Washington Monthly has published its list of top schools for the past 19 years with what it calls “a different kind of college ranking,” calling attention to colleges based on their contribution to the public good, not solely on prestige or wealth.

This is the eighth straight year Fresno State has ranked among the top 40 national universities among 442 total – and the eighth straight year Fresno State has been the highest-ranked campus in the California State University system. At No. 26, Fresno State ranks alongside six Ivy League schools and private universities like Stanford and MIT.

Fresno State is the highest-ranked university from the Mountain West Conference, with Utah State (No. 39) also in the top 40. Among other notable conferences with a western footprint, Fresno State ranks just one spot behind the highest-ranked Big 12 institution (No. 25 Brigham Young University), and behind just four current Pac 12 institutions (No. 2 Stanford; No. 9 University of California, Berkeley; No. 14 Washington; and No. 16 UCLA).

Fresno State continues to compete at a national level both academically and athletically. In 2022, Fresno State was one of just five universities nationally to be ranked in both the Washington Monthly top 40 universities and college football’s Associated Press top 25 poll.

Commitment to Education, Community Impact

Here are some ways that Fresno State has showed its commitment to education, research and impact on the community:

During the 2022-23 academic year, the university received 434 grants for a total of $70.7 million, nearly a 30% increase over the previous year. The university earned R2 designation as a “Doctoral University — High Research Activity” by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education in 2022, highlighting a significant commitment to growing research activities.

For the 14th year in a row, students, faculty and staff continued their longstanding culture of service by providing more than 1 million hours of service to community organizations.

Forensic anthropologist Dr. Chelsey Juarez leads the Fresno State Forensic Anthropology Laboratory in working with public safety agencies across the Central Valley to analyze skeletal remains. Her work helps find resolutions for missing people or those who suffered violent deaths, giving closure to families waiting for answers. Juarez’s work led to a positive DNA identification in May.

The Fresno State Mobile Health Unit received $4 million in state funding to expand its program to include the purchase of two brand new, state-of-the-art mobile health units to provide free health care screenings, diabetes and blood pressure checks to residents in rural and underserved communities.

In June, Fresno State received a 4.5-star rating on a 5-star scale in Money’s new 2023 Best Colleges rating of the nation’s best colleges for quality and affordability.

Washington Monthly Top 30 National Universities

  1. Harvard University
  2. Stanford University
  3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  4. University of Pennsylvania
  5. Princeton University
  6. Duke University
  7. Columbia University, in the City of NY
  8. Yale University
  9. University of California, Berkeley
  10. Cornell University
  11. University of Wisconsin-Madison
  12. University of Notre Dame
  13. Johns Hopkins University
  14. University of Washington, Seattle
  15. Georgetown University
  16. University of California, Los Angeles
  17. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  18. Vanderbilt University
  19. Florida International University
  20. University of California, San Diego
  21. University of California, Davis
  22. University of Florida
  23. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  24. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  25. Brigham Young University
  26. California State University, Fresno
  27. Washington University in St. Louis
  28. Dartmouth College
  29. California State University, San Bernardino
  30. National Louis University in Illinois

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