Washington Monthly university rankings: UCLA is the nation’s No. 1 ‘affordable elite’

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UCLA is No. 1 in Washington Monthly’s new ranking of “affordable elites” — the magazine’s honor roll for selective colleges and universities that give high-achieving non-wealthy students a break in price.

Ranking just below UCLA in the survey, published today, were Harvard University, Williams College, Dartmouth College, Vassar College. Three other University of California campuses — Berkeley, Irvine and San Diego — were among the top 10. The rankings take into account universities’ percentage of Pell Grant recipients, graduation rates and net tuition (factoring in grants and financial aid) for families below certain income levels.

A related Washington Monthly survey ranks universities for their commitment to serving the public interest. On that count, UCLA is also among the best in the U.S. UCLA was ranked fifth among national universities, up from No. 10 last year. The ratings are based on social mobility (recruiting and graduating low-income students), research (producing cutting-edge scholarship and awarding doctoral degrees) and service (encouraging students to give back to their country).

The survey considers universities’ predicted and actual graduation rates; the percentage of low-income students receiving federal aid; the percentage of all students who join the Peace Corps or ROTC, or engage in other community service; and the number of faculty receiving significant awards and elected to the national academies.

The magazine also ranked UCLA No. 7 in its master’s universities rankings and No. 12 among universities that provide the “best bang for the buck.”

This is just the latest accolade for UCLA. Last week, Shanghai Jiao Tong University’s Academic Ranking of World Universities ranked UCLA second among U.S. public institutions and No. 12 overall. UCLA also placed second among public universities and 23rd overall in the most recent U.S. News and World Report Best Colleges and No. 12 in the London Times Higher Education’s 2013-14 World University Rankings.

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