Story Affordability

Forbes Names 17 CSUs Among Nation's Best Value Colleges

Elizabeth Chapin



​Seventeen California State University campuses are included in Forbes magazine's third annual ranking of 300 schools that deliver the best bang for the buck based on tuition costs, academic quality, post-grad earnings, student debt and graduation success.

Forbes' Best Value Colleges ra​nkings released April 10 include the San Diego, Long Beach, San Jose, San Luis Obispo, Pomona, Fullerton, Chico, Stanislaus, Fresno, Northridge, Sacramento, East Bay, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Maritime Academy, Sonoma and San Bernardino campuses.

Forbes also ranked Cal Poly San Luis Obispo among the top 10 schools that had the most success with upward mobility—the percentage of students from the bottom 20 percent income distribution who reach the top 20 percent.

Using data from the U.S. Department of Education's College Scorecard and PayScale, Forbes evaluated colleges and universities based on alumni earnings (20%), net price (20%), net student debt (20%), school quality (20%), timely graduation (10%) and the number of Pell Grant recipients (10%). 

Forbes revised its methodology for 2018 to put more emphasis on earnings, price and debt. The publication also switched to net price, which takes into account the impact of students' financial aid and the costs of room and board.

Eighty percent of all CSU students receive some form of financial aid including grants, waivers, scholarships or loans—this totaled more than $4.2 billion in financial assistance in 2016-17. In addition, nearly half of all CSU students graduate debt-free. For those incurring debt, it is half the national average.

Due to high-quality academic programs, affordable tuition, robust financial aid and low student loan debt, the value of a CSU education consistently ranks among the best in the nation. Nineteen campuses were recently named Best Colleges for Your Money by Money magazine and 12 campuses were included in's Best Value Colleges report​.