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How California universities fared in revamped rankings

How was my school?

That’s what sparked many people’s curiosity yesterday when U.S. News and World Report released its annual college rankings, compiled using a recently revised methodology.

While the top schools remained the same — Princeton, followed by MIT, with Harvard and Stanford tied for third — the new formula boosted many public universities, while several private institutions fell in the rankings.

UCLA and my alma mater, UC Berkeley, each moved from 20th to 15th overall and were once again ranked as the best public universities in the country. UC Davis moved from 38th to 28th, where it is now tied with UC San Diego and the University of Southern California.

As for private schools in the Golden State, Pepperdine University fell 21 spots to 76th; Chapman University fell 12 and the University of San Francisco fell 10.

You can see the full national university rankings here.

U.S. News’ adjusted methodology, in response to years of criticism, places greater emphasis on what the company calls “social mobility,” measured through graduation rates for low-income students as well as for first-generation students, reports my colleague Alan Blinder. As part of this new focus, the organization also ruled out five factors that often favored wealthy colleges, including undergraduate class sizes, alumni giving rates and high school class rankings.

This means that many of the schools that rose the most in the rankings were large public universities in the middle of the pack. And, indeed, according to the new rankings, Cal State Fresno jumped 64 spots to 185th. San Francisco State’s ranking improved by 55, and Cal State Long Beach and Cal State Fullerton’s improved by 32 each.

Hazel Kelly, a spokeswoman for the California State University system, said the system’s 23 universities charge some of the lowest tuition in the country and nearly a third of their undergraduate students were the first members of their family to attend college. Half come from underrepresented communities and half receive Pell Grants.

“As the nation’s largest and most diverse four-year higher education system, California State University is a national leader in social and economic mobility,” Kelly said in an email . “We are grateful that more and more university rankings now recognize student achievement. »

For the fourth straight year, all nine UC undergraduate campuses are in the top 100. UC Merced, which opened in 2005 and is the system’s newest campus, moved from 97th to 60th place, surpassing UC Santa Cruz and UC Riverside.

“We always say: We don’t do what we do to get rankings,” UC Merced Chancellor Juan Sánchez Muñoz said in a statement. “We are continuing our mission to advance the social and economic mobility of students, and the nation is noticing.”

Here are the rankings of California schools that made the top 100 this year, as well as their previous rankings:

  • Stanford University: 3 (last year: 3)

  • California Institute of Technology: 7 (9)

  • University of California, Berkeley: 15 (20)

  • UCLA: 15 (20)

  • University of California, Davis: 28 (38)

  • University of California San Diego: 28 (34)

  • University of Southern California: 28 (25)

  • University of California Irvine: 33 (34)

  • University of California, Santa Barbara: 35 (32)

  • Santa Clara University: 60 (55)

  • UC Merced: 60 (97)

  • Pepperdine University: 76 (55)

  • UC Riverside: 76 (89)

  • University of Santa Cruz: 82 (83)

  • Loyola Marymount University: 93 (77)

  • University of San Diego: 98 (97)

Today’s tip comes from Elizabeth Johnson, who lives in Santa Cruz. Johnson recommends spending a day in his city:

“A typical day might include outrigger paddling in Monterey Bay, enjoying lattes and bagels in front of Crow’s Nest at the mouth of the harbor while listening to ukuleles and watching beach volleyball, walking the dog afternoon in the Santa Cruz Mountains, through the redwoods, just minutes from my house, a leisurely drive on Highway 1 to the small town of Davenport for live music and a taco while admiring the bay, then return to downtown Santa Cruz and Abbott Square, enjoying live poetry and music and a local beer or glass of wine. I’m only a few hours from the Eastern Sierras, an hour from San Francisco and the Pinnacles. I’m so grateful.”

Tell us about your favorite places to visit in California. Email your suggestions to We will share more in future editions of the newsletter.

George Carl Gaetano Carollo and Sachi Alita Takahashi-Rial have lived in the Bay Area for many years, and it shows.

Carollo, who works at a tech startup, and Takahashi-Rial, who works at a nonprofit, grew up in the same Sacramento neighborhood and got their start in group projects and study sessions in high school, even sharing their first kiss after studying for a biology exam together. After graduating from Stanford and Berkeley, the two men eventually moved with a large group of friends to San Francisco, where they hosted dinner parties and sent “end of the year” memos, spoofing the company’s Christmas letters. ‘business.

In May 2022, after 17 years of dating and a brief detour to New York, the couple plans to get married. True to form, they began planning their future together on a Google spreadsheet, titled “Life Planning,” with a timeline on another tab.

The rest is told in their online wedding invitations, for a three-day ranch event in Vacaville in November: “You are invited to the first Investor Offsite for high-profile investors from around the world. This exclusive event combines ideas, innovation, vision and, of course, cake,” the invitation reads.

“We’re excited to have a great party with the people who invested in us,” Takahashi-Rial said.

Thanks for reading. I’ll be back tomorrow. -Soumya

PS Here today’s mini crosswords.

Maia Coleman and Briana Scalia contributed to California Today. You can reach the team at

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