graduating college student being showered with confetti
Story Affordability

CSUs Are Star-Studded in College Ratings

Alisia Ruble

Money gives all the CSU's 23 universities four or more stars in its 2024 list of the “Best Colleges in America."

graduating college student being showered with confetti

All 23 California State Universities are included in Money magazine's 2024 list of the “Best Colleges in America" released June 12. Money's analysis showcases the country's top 745 colleges based on graduation rates, cost of attendance, financial aid, alumni salaries and more.

Each of the CSUs were given at least a 4-star rating on a 5-star scale, and four CSUs earned five stars: Cal State Long Beach, Cal Poly Pomona, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Stanislaus State. Only 50 schools on Money's list earned five stars.

“I am extremely proud to see all of the CSU's 23 universities on Money magazine's 'Best Colleges in America' ranking," said CSU Chancellor Mildred García. “But while I am very pleased, I am also unsurprised, because the ranking's criteria reflect the mission and core values of the CSU: authentic access, student success, social mobility, affordability and preparing diverse students for a lifetime of prosperity, fulfillment and service."​

Rather than using numerical rankings to order the colleges, Money uses a rating system that they say more accurately represents the variation in colleges' performance. In a numbered ranking, very small differences in colleges' scores result in different ranks, exaggerating the difference in performance, and it's more important to look broadly at where a college lands on a list and not its precise rank, according to the publication's editors.

In addition to receiving high ratings in Money's overall list of the nation's best colleges, nearly all CSUs are included in the publication's list of the country's “Best Public Colleges" and its list of the “Best Colleges in the West." Eighteen CSUs are also included in Money's list of the “Best Colleges with High Acceptance Rates."

At about $6,000 per academic year, CSU tuition  is among the lowest in the country. Nearly 80% of undergraduate students receive some form of financial aid, and more than half of them graduate with zero student loan debt. 

The CSU is routinely recognized for providing great value to its graduates and their families. In fact, two recent reports from Georgetown University and the College Futures Foundation place CSUs among the top California colleges offering the best return on investment.