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Student Success 2022

Cal State LA continues to rank as one of the nation’s top universities

August 31, 2021

Cal State LA News Service

Students walking on the main walkway on campus
Photo: Cal State LA students on the way to their classes. (Credit: J. Emilio Flores/Cal State LA)

Cal State LA has once again been recognized as among the top universities in the nation by Washington Monthly in its recently-released college guide, which relies on public service, upward mobility, and other factors to compile its annual report.

The magazine’s 2021 College Guide and Rankings listed Cal State LA at number five in the “Best Master’s Universities” category, moving up five spots from last year.

In the “Best Bang for the Buck” category, Cal State LA continues to be ranked number three in the West. These findings rate higher education institutions’ success in enabling non-wealthy students to obtain marketable degrees at affordable prices.

Washington Monthly rates universities based on their contribution to the public good, considering factors that include social mobility, research, and promoting public service.

A groundbreaking study by The Equality of Opportunity Project examined the role of colleges and universities in helping individuals climb the income ladder—ranking Cal State LA number one in the nation for upward mobility. The study, which examined records from more than 2,000 colleges and universities, concluded that Cal State LA has propelled a higher percentage of students from the bottom fifth of income into the top fifth of U.S. earners.

Despite delays and limitations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the total external funding awards received in 2019-20 by the campus were close to $15 million, demonstrating the university’s dedication to creating valued research opportunities for faculty and students.

Reflecting the university’s mission of engagement, service, and the public good, Cal State LA served as one of the first federal vaccination sites set up by the Biden administration and then a city-run vaccination center. Working with government partners and community-based organizations to combat the pandemic, nearly half a million people received their vaccinations at Cal State LA, its mobile vaccination units, or satellite sites.

In 2018, Cal State LA’s commitment to uplifting and transforming the economies and social well-being of communities across the region led to an anchor institution designation by the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities.

Cal State LA has also recorded significant gains in recent years in the U.S. News & World Report rankings.

In its report last September on best colleges, U.S. News & World Report ranked Cal State LA 26th among all private and public universities in the Western United States, a jump of five spots from the previous year. Among top public universities in the West, Cal State LA ranked 9th, four steps up from the year before. In the previous seven years, Cal State LA rose 70 spots among all private and public regional universities in the West.

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California State University, Los Angeles is the premier comprehensive public university in the heart of Los Angeles. Cal State LA is ranked number one in the United States for the upward mobility of its students. Cal State LA is dedicated to engagement, service, and the public good, offering nationally recognized programs in science, the arts, business, criminal justice, engineering, nursing, education, and the humanities. Founded in 1947, the University serves more than 26,000 students and has more than 250,000 distinguished alumni.

Cal State LA is home to the critically-acclaimed Luckman Fine Arts Complex, Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs, Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center, Hydrogen Research and Fueling Facility, Billie Jean King Sports Complex and the TV, Film and Media Center. For more information, visit