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Cal Poly Earns Top Rankings from Wall Street Journal, Forbes and U.S. News

A view overlooking the Cal Poly campus
Written By Jay Thompson

Three highly-respected publications recently ranked Cal Poly among the best universities in the country.

Earlier in September, U.S. News & World Report named it the best public, master’s-level university in the West for the 29th straight year in their annual Best Colleges guidebook.

Soon after, Forbes named Cal Poly as the best public-master’s university in California and the school cracked the list of Top 20 public and private universities in the West in the publication’s 2021 list of America’s Top Colleges.

The Wall Street Journal also designated Cal Poly as the best master’s-level public university in California. According to the 2022 Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College Rankings, Cal Poly is among the top 50 public universities in the nation.

Cal Poly was again No. 8 among all California public institutions, behind seven campuses in the University of California system, according to the WSJ/THE rankings. Cal Poly ranked 48th out of all public colleges and universities in the U.S., up two notches from the 2021 rankings.

The WSJ/THE rankings emphasize student learning and how well a college or university will prepare students for life after graduation. Among the 796 colleges and universities ranked across the nation, Cal Poly placed No. 198 overall — up a dozen spots from last year.

Forbes used the pandemic year to rethink how it was evaluating the country’s finest schools. Its new methodology counted low-income student outcomes and added a large federal database to Forbes’ tally of graduate earnings. Cal Poly, ranked No. 24 in the rankings among public and private universities in the West in 2019, moved up to No. 17 on the 14th annual America’s Top Colleges list released this month.

Overall, Cal Poly was 58th — up from 115 in 2019 — among the 600 public and private not-for-profit universities in the U.S. that were ranked. The top five schools on this year’s list are UC Berkeley and four private institutions, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, and Columbia universities.

Among public schools, Cal Poly was ranked 21st in the nation — rising seven spots from 2019— and again ranked seventh in the Golden State, behind University of California campuses at Berkeley, Los Angeles, San Diego, Davis, Santa Barbara, and Irvine — all doctorate-level institutions.

The 2022 guide from U.S. News & World Report, released Sept. 13, 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. The guide provides data on more than 1,800 colleges and universities and rankings for more than 1,400 institutions.

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.

“Student success remains at the heart of what we do,” said Cal Poly President Jeffrey D. Armstrong, “and these rankings reflect well on the Learn by Doing experience and how it prepares our students to succeed after graduation — in their careers and in their lives.

“Cal Poly’s continued improvement in these prestigious publications year after year also reflects the work and dedication of our renowned faculty and staff, as well as the support of our proud alumni and industry partners who complete the circle of success.”


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