Female graduate raises both arms in triumph at Cal State Monterey Bay
Story Social Mobility

CSU Campuses are Top Performers on Social Mobility

Alisia Ruble

U.S. News Best Colleges rankings give CSU high scores for graduating Pell-eligible students.

Female graduate raises both arms in triumph at Cal State Monterey Bay
​​​​​​​​CSU campuses ranked among the top universities for social mobility, according to the U.S. News Best Colleges rankings for 2020. A new addition to the annual rankings, the Top Performers on Social Mobility category compares how well universities and colleges do in graduating Pell Grant-eligible students.

Among regional western universities, Monterey Bay, San José, Long Beach, Stanislaus, Pomona, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Fullerton, San Francisco, Northridge and Channel Islands dominated the top 20 of the social mobility ranking

In its overall rankings, U.S. News included 20 CSU campuses in its list of the top regional universities in the West, two campuses (San Diego State and Fresno State) in its top national universities list, and it ranked California State University Maritime Academy No. 2 among regional colleges in the West. See the full rankings on the U.S. News website. ​

The CSU enrolls nearly half a million students each year, and with roughly half of them being Pell-eligible and nearly one-third being the first in their family to attend college, the university is uniquely positioned to increase social mobility on a large scale.

The CSU reinforced its commitment to promoting upward mobility when it launched Graduation Initiative 2025, a systemwide effort to improve completion rates for all students while eliminating equity gaps between students from underserved communities and their peers.

Since the initiative’s launch, the CSU has made great strides toward fulfilling its goals, including successfully lowering equity gaps between students from traditionally underserved communities and their peers, and between Pell Grant-eligible students and their peers. 

U.S. News & World Report has released its Best Colleges rankings for the past 35 years in an effort to help prospective students and their families decide which institution best suits their needs. 

CSU campuses are frequently recognized for academic excellence and contributions to the public good. View more of the CSU's “best of" rankings​ including CollegeNET’s Social Mobility Index, in which all campuses rank in the top quartile.