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Cal Poly Earns 29th Consecutive Best in the West Ranking from U.S. News

Three students wearing Cal Poly masks walk on campus.
Written By Matt Lazier

Cal Poly has been named the best public, master’s-level university in the West for the 29th straight year in U.S. News & World Report’s annual Best Colleges guidebook.

The 2022 guide, released Sept. 13, provides data on more than 1,800 colleges and universities and rankings for more than 1,400 institutions. It lists Cal Poly as No. 2 overall in the West — up one from last year — and as the top-ranked public university in the region.

In addition, several Cal Poly College of Engineering programs were ranked among the best in the nation for masters-level educational institutions, and the university was ranked as the top school in the West for veterans among public and private institutions that participate in federal initiatives helping veterans and active-duty service members pay for their degrees.

The Western regional rankings include public and private institutions in 15 states that provide “a full range of undergraduate and master’s-level programs but few doctoral programs.” (Universities that grant doctoral degrees, such as those in the University of California system, are listed in a separate category.)

“Cal Poly’s lasting success in this prestigious publication further illustrates what we know from our graduates’ accomplishments: Our Learn by Doing education gives Cal Poly alumni the tools they need to hit the ground running in their careers and prepares them to use cross-disciplinary thinking and hands-on experience to address the problems our world needs solved,” said Cal Poly President Jeffrey D. Armstrong. “Rankings such as these also are a celebration of Cal Poly’s dedicated faculty and staff, who work tirelessly to help our students reach their goals.”

Cal Poly placed highly in several rankings, including:

— Repeating as No. 1 in Top Public Schools in the Western U.S. — institutions that operate under the supervision of state governments and funded, in part, by tax dollars and state subsidies. These universities often offer discounted tuition to residents of their states.

— Repeating as the No. 1 university in West for Most Innovative Schools — institutions that are making the most innovative improvements in terms of curriculum, faculty, students, campus life, technology or facilities.

— Best in the West for the second straight year for most veteran-friendly universities — a listing that shows the top-ranked schools that participate in federal initiatives helping veterans and active-duty service members pay for their degrees.

— Repeating as best public university in the West (and No. 3 overall for the region) for undergraduate teaching program.

— Tied for seventh on the list of best master’s-level engineering programs in the nation — the fourth-best public university and top public California university on the list. Among specialty programs, Cal Poly’s Civil Engineering, Computer Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Electrical Engineering programs all ranked No. 2 in the West overall and No. 1 among public universities.

— Ranked in the top 100 (tied at 94th, up two places from last year) in the Top Performers on Social Mobility category among western schools that “advance social mobility” by enrolling and graduating large proportions of disadvantaged students awarded with Pell Grants. The bulk of these federal grants are awarded to students whose adjusted gross family incomes are under $50,000.

The U.S. News rankings methodology focuses on academic excellence, with schools evaluated on hundreds of data points and measures of academic quality, such as graduation and freshman retention rates. The first edition of the rankings was released in 1983, and they have continued to evolve with more schools and data points for college-bound students to consider. Read more about the rankings online.

More details on Cal Poly’s 2022 U.S. News rankings are available online.