UC Santa Barbara cracked the top five among national public universities in U.S. News & World Report’s annual “Best Colleges” rankings, released Sept. 12.
UCSB was No. 28 among national universities, a list topped this year by Princeton University at No. 1 and a tie for second among Columbia University, Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The only public universities ranked higher than UCSB were UCLA, UC Berkeley, the University of Michigan and the University of Virginia.
UCSB’s new rankings are a slight improvement over last year, when it was No. 30 among national universities and No. 6 among national public universities. This year, it was ranked No. 16 among national universities for social mobility, and its undergraduate engineering programs were ranked No. 31 among all universities that grant doctorates in engineering.
The tri-county region’s other universities also fared well. Cal Poly San Luis Obispo was No. 2 among regional universities in the West, after Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, and No. 1 among public regional universities. California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks was No. 8 among regional universities in the West, and CSU Channel Islands near Camarillo was No. 41 on that list. Thomas Aquinas College, a small private school near Santa Paula, was No. 42 among national liberal arts colleges, and Westmont College in Montecito was No. 114 on that list.
Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Cal Lutheran were also at the very top of the regional list of best colleges for military veterans, which U.S. News said rewards “top-ranked schools that make pursuing a college education more affordable for veterans and active-duty service members.” Cal Poly was No. 1 on that list and Cal Lutheran was No. 2. Among national universities, UCSB was No. 10 on the “Best Colleges for Veterans” list.
The three University of California campuses were the most affordable schools in the national top 30; their in-state tuition of about $14,000 is less than a quarter of the amount charged by private universities like Duke, USC and Georgetown, according to U.S. News.