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Story Affordability

Washington Monthly Ranks All 23 CSU Campuses Best Value in the West

Hazel Kelly

CSU institutions are recognized for affordability, social mobility and adult learning.

Students walking on campus



​​​Each of the 23 California State University campuses rank among the top 100 “Best Bang for the Buck" universities in the West, according to the 2019 rankings released by Washington Monthly on August 26. Half of the top 10 are CSU campuses including Stanislaus, Los Angeles, Bakersfield, Northridge and Long Beach.

The overall rankings call attention to institutions that serve the public good—including enrolling and graduating students of modest means and providing opportunities to increase social mobility.  The "Best Bang for the Buck" schools are ranked according to how well they help students from historically underrepresented communities attain marketable degrees at affordable prices.

Nineteen CSU campuses were also ranked in the top master's institutions, with Northridge and Los Angeles in the top 10. For doctoral institutions, Fresno and San Diego made the list, and Maritime Academy was ranked No. 11 out of 216 of schools that almost exclusively award bachelor's degrees

Washington Monthly also ranked seven CSU campuses as best four-year universities for adult learners, with East Bay, Dominguez Hills, Long Beach and Fullerton in the top 50. And San Luis Obispo ranked 17 out of 208 of the most affordable elite colleges in the country, based on how well it promotes upward mobility.

CSU campuses are frequently recognized for academic excellence and contributions to the public good. The Washington Monthly rankings represent just the latest round of national acclaim. Earlier this month, MONEY magazine ranked 21 CSU campuses among the nation's Best Colleges in America, and 18 CSU campuses were named to Forbes' list of America's Top Colleges.

View more of the CSU's “best of" rankings.