California State University campuses routinely rank highly for their academic excellence and degree value by accredited national university rankings including those from Washington Monthly and US News and World Report. Campuses are also frequently recognized as engines of social mobility due to their success in educating diverse students, many of whom are the first in their families to attend college.

Take a look back at some highlights from 2017: a year that saw the CSU gain significant recognition and accolades for academic excellence and contributions to the public good. 

Social Mobility

The Social Mobility Index developed by Payscale and CollegeNET listed all 23 CSU campuses among the top universities in the country for helping low-income students find financial success.

According to PayScale's 2017 Best Value Colleges report, 12 CSU campuses are among the top 100 public universities in the nation when it comes to return on investment for in-state tuition.

The Equality of Opportunity project named Pomona and Los Angeles among top 10 colleges in the U.S. for social mobility. Bakersfield, Pomona, San José and Long Beach are also included in the study's list of top 10 colleges ranked by percent of students from the bottom fifth of the income distribution who end up in the top three-fifths after graduation.

Forbes recognized San Luis Obispo, Maritime and San José among the nation's top 25 public colleges with the highest earning graduates.

Academic Excellence

US News & World Report ranked San Luis Obispo, Pomona, San José, Chico and Long Beach among the top 10 public universities in the western region.

Washington Monthly's college rankings recognized all 23 CSU campuses—with Stanislaus, San Bernardino, Bakersfield, Chico, Los Angeles, Dominguez Hills, Northridge, San Luis Obispo, Humboldt and Sacramento placing in the top 25 among master's institutions. CSU Maritime also ranked fifth nationally among bachelor's universities and Fresno placed in the top 20 in the national university category.

Nineteen CSU campuses were included in Money magazine's annual value ranking of schools based on educational quality, affordability and graduate earnings.

Forbes magazine ranked 15 CSU campuses as America's Best Value Colleges for 2017 based on tuition costs, school quality, post-graduate earnings, student debt and graduation success.


The 2017 Sustainable Campus Index lists Sacramento, Northridge, and Humboldt among the top 10 performing master's institutions when it comes to campus sustainability success and innovation.

Channel Islands, Northridge, San Luis Obispo and Sacramento were honored as Tree Campus USA universities by the Arbor Day Foundation for engaging staff and students in conservation goals and their effective urban forest management.