U.S. News names UCR No. 1 public for social mobility

UC Riverside has been the top public university in the nation every year since the social mobility category's inception
By J.D. Warren | UCR News |

For the fourth consecutive year, U.S. News & World Report has named UC Riverside the top public university in the nation for social mobility. UCR has been the top public university every year since U.S. News began a separate ranking for social mobility four years ago.

U.S. News released its 2022-2023 Best Colleges list on Monday, Sept. 12. The ranking is the nation’s most-watched college rankings list.

The social mobility category considers the degree to which a university elevates its low-income graduates to a higher standard of living. UCR is No. 2 overall in U.S. News after three years as the No. 1 university among both public and private colleges.

In its social mobility ranking, U.S. News aggregates two factors that assess the graduation rates of students who receive the Pell Grant, typically awarded to families earning less than $65,000 per year. The factors are Pell Grant six-year graduation rates and Pell Grant graduation rate performance, which considers grant recipients’ graduation rates relative to non-Pell Grant recipients’ rates.

Among UCR’s almost 27,000 students, more than 48% received a Pell Grant in fall 2021.

The campus was No. 38 among public universities in U.S. News’ 2022-23 list, and No. 89 in the overall rankings in U.S. News’ 2022-23 list, which included 392 four-year universities. In its overall list, U.S. News factors graduation and retention rates, social mobility, reputation, peer assessments, faculty resources, student selectivity, and student resources and debt.

UCR scored well in several of the 2022-23 rankings’ subcategories, including No. 30 for economic diversity and No. 41 for most innovative, based on nominations from university presidents, provosts, and admissions deans.

In the overall list, Princeton University, Harvard University, and MIT claimed the Nos. 1-3 spots.

Fall is when many of the major college rankings are published, and the U.S. News ranking follows recent releases from Forbes, which ranked UCR the No. 33 public university in the nation.  Washington Monthly also recently released its annual college rankings, placing UC Riverside No. 4 among 444 universities nationwide in its Pell Grant student performance. In the Princeton Review’s annual best colleges list, UCR earned high ranks in financial aid (No. 11 in the U.S.), making a public impact (No. 20), and best value (No. 23).