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Davis, California

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Forbes ranks UC Davis ninth Best Value College in the nation


UC Davis secures position within the top ten, amongst four other UCs

UC Davis earned the ninth spot on Forbes’ annual Best Value College Ranking out of 300 national colleges. Forbes’ criteria for the ranking consisted of comparing “Quality (25%) + alumni earnings (20%) + median student debt (20%) + on-time graduation (15%) + drop-out risk (10%) + Pell Grant recipients (10%) / gross tuition and fees.” This data was drawn from the U.S. Department of Education College Scorecard and Payscale, the world’s largest salary database. UC Davis charges $13,896 per year for in-state tuition. US News and World Report, the premiere ranking publication, designated UC Davis as  #44 out of 310 schools in their 2017 National Universities ranking.  

Forbes approached the perennial college ranking criteria question from the standpoint of “whether a college will deliver a meaningful return on investment.” It illuminates how certain higher learning institutions, such as UC Davis, stand out among others nationwide in providing the greatest value.

“Knowing where you can get the most quality for each tuition dollar spent is the goal of this year’s Best Value ranking,” the Forbes press release stated.  

The Forbes press release showed a new trend toward Western public schools within the ranking, departing from the traditionally more prestigious private northeastern universities.

“We’ve tapped into something very interesting here,” the press release read. “Private Northeast institutions have lost their monopoly on the higher education marketplace. More than half of the top Best Value Colleges are clustered in the West and 5 of the 10 are public schools (four from the enviable U.C. system).”

Walter Robinson, the associate vice chancellor of Student Affairs, described the value of earning a degree at UC Davis, citing both the education and post-graduation success. Robinson explained how UC Davis has become the epitome of “what it means to be an engine of social mobility,” referencing UC Davis’ low-income and first generation college student advocacy.

“A high percentage of our students are the first in their families to attend and graduate from college,” Robinson said via email. “Many of our students come from low income backgrounds. We have earned the reputation of improving the quality of lives by moving our students three rungs up on the socioeconomic ladder which is transformative for them, their families and their communities.”

UC Davis resided at 125 on the Forbes 2016 list, climbing into the top 10 this year.

“We are in perpetual pursuit of comprehensive excellence in all that we do,” Robinson said via email. “We have world class faculty who engage with outstanding students, who participate in cutting edge research, high impact service and practical and applicable educational experiences. On average, our students graduate with one of the lowest amounts of loan debt when compared to other top universities.”

Claire Doan, a media specialist for the UC Office of the President, spoke about UC Davis’ cost-to-benefit ratio in terms of supplying a competitive college degree.

“The rankings confirm what we already know: University of California students are getting an extraordinary education and a great deal,” Doan said via email. “UC Davis is a prime example of groundbreaking research, excellent instruction and a high graduation success rate — for students paying only a fraction of what they would elsewhere for the same overall quality.”

Josh Dalavai, ASUCD president and a third-year political science and economics double major, hedged his appreciation of the ranking with a comment about out-of-state and international student advocacy, amidst proposed enrollment caps.  

“While it is wonderful that we are ranked so highly, we also have a long ways to go in ensuring that that ‘value’ also includes our out of state and international students in terms of accessibility,” Dalavai said via email.


Written by: Aaron Liss — campus@theaggie.org


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