Story Affordability

Affordability and Academic Quality Land CSU Campuses on Forbes Best Value List

Alisia Ruble


​​​Seventeen California State University campuses are included in Forbes magazine's annual ranking of the nation’s top schools with the highest quality and best financial outcomes. 

The CSU campuses included in Forbes' Best Value Colleges 2019 rankings released April 24 are listed in order of ranking: San Diego, Long Beach, San José, Fullerton, Pomona, San Luis Obispo, Chico, Fresno, Northridge, Sacramento, East Bay, Stanislaus, San Francisco, Maritime Academy, Los Angeles, Sonoma and San Bernardino. 

Using data from the U.S. Department of Education's College Scorecard and PayScale, Forbes evaluated 300 U.S. colleges and universities based on net price, alumni earnings, academic quality, graduation rates and the number of Pell Grant recipients. 

Forbes revised its methodology in 2018 to focus more on a school’s societal contribution, putting greater emphasis on affordability and economic benefits, which contribute to better rates of upward mobility.

“Most students and their families are interested in value over prestige,” Forbes writer Caroline Howard says. “This is the definitive guide for those looking for an excellent return on one of the most important investments of their lives.”

The CSU as an Engine of Upward Mobility

The CSU is the nation’s largest and most affordable public four-year university system, opening the door to educational opportunities for nearly half a million students and awarding more than 125,000 degrees each year.

Through a robust financial aid program, the California State University is able to provide access to a high-quality education while maintaining affordability. In fact, 81 percent of CSU students receive some form of financial aid and more than half of students who earn bachelor’s degrees graduate with zero education loan debt.

In January 2019, CSU Chancellor Timothy White indicated that tuition— among the lowest in the nation—would remain the same for the 2019-20 academic year in response to Governor Newsom’s generous support in the January budget proposal.  

Already lauded for the quality of its educational offerings, the CSU continues university-wide efforts to improve student success and foster upward mobility through Graduation Initiative 2025. Since its launch in 2016, equity gaps between underrepresented students and their peers have begun to narrow and completion rates are at all-time highs for all students. 

This progress ensures that thousands of additional students graduate in a timely manner—more than half of which are the first in their families to earn a degree—positively impacting their future and producing the graduates needed to power California and the nation.

Learn more about how the CSU is working to ensure all students have access to the economic and social benefits of higher education by visiting our Graduation Initiative 2025 page. 

CSU campuses consistently rank highly for academic excellence, value, sustainability and opportunity. Visit the CSU’s rankings page to find recent recognitions.
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