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Chico State

CSU, Chico Honored as One of West Region’s Best Bangs for the Buck

The front of Kendall Hall basks in the glow of a summer sunset
Jason Halley / University Photographer

Kendall Hall is seen on Monday, August 31, 2020 in Chico, Calif. (Jason Halley/University Photographer/CSU, Chico)

When we invest in something, we seek the biggest return on that investment. The same goes for higher education—and, according to recent rankings from Washington Monthly, California State University, Chico has been honored as a strong return on that important investment.

In Washington Monthly’s “2020 College Rankings,” CSU, Chico was recognized on the “2020 Best Bang for the Buck Rankings: West,” at No. 17 out of 215 regional institutions. This placement is a jump for the University, which was ranked No. 29 the last two years.

When college seekers consider higher education options, they often look for things like dedicated faculty, supportive student services and a unique learning environment. Director of Admissions Kim Guanzon noted that CSU, Chico’s student-centered faculty and staff, exceptional educational offerings, small class sizes and residential nature make for an unbeatable college experience.

“From learning spaces like the University Farm and Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve to the many, many resources focused on helping our students succeed, CSU, Chico excels at providing an outstanding and affordable education, while its graduates also enter the workforce work-ready and with refined life skills,” Guanzon said. “It’s truly an honor to be recognized once again for the excellent value we provide.”

Washington Monthly established its rankings consensus by equally weighing three parts: social mobility, research and community and national service, adding that in order to be considered for the list, each institution required “excellence across the full breadth of our measures, rather than excelling in just one.”

California State University schools occupy half of the top 20 spots, buoyed by the system’s affordable education compared to other national systems, including top-ranked Stanislaus State; Cal State LA (No. 3); Cal State San Bernardino (No. 5); CSUN (No. 6); CSU, Bakersfield (No. 9); and Cal State Long Beach (No. 10). Other top-20 CSU schools are Sacramento State (No. 11); CSU, Dominguez Hills (No. 14); Cal State Fullerton (No. 16); and CSU, Channel Islands (No. 19).

Additionally, CSU, Chico moved up on Washington Monthly’s national “2020 Master’s University Rankings” to No. 15 out of 614 schools listed—last year the University was ranked at No. 20 on this same list.

Dean of Graduate Studies Sharon Barrios said what distinguishes a graduate education from CSU, Chico ranges from how thoroughly prepared students are for their professional careers or advanced doctoral study to the powerful impact the University’s graduation education has on the economic viability of its North State residents, communities and University. But, Barrios said, it all starts with the faculty.

“The high quality of our graduate programs starts with our distinguished faculty who display a collective sense of ownership and commitment to offering an intellectually rigorous, comprehensive, focused and collaborative learning experience,” said Barrios. “The reputation of our faculty as active researchers, innovative teachers and committed mentors is what draws our highly qualified students—many already professionals in their fields—from across the region, the nation and the world.”

Similarly, a large percentage of the top master’s institutions rankings is CSU schools. In the top 20 are Cal State San Bernardino (No. 3); Stanislaus State (No. 9); Cal State LA (No. 10); CSUN (No. 11); Sacramento State (No. 13); Cal State Long Beach (No. 18); and CSU, Bakersfield (No. 19).

CSU, Chico remains a mainstay on many statewide, regional and national rankings. Since the beginning of 2020, the University has been ranked as one of the nation’s top schools in a consensus report, honored as one of the nation’s top colleges for an agriculture degree, recognized for its commitment to on-campus tree conservation and celebrated as having one of the state’s top RN programs.

And recently, the University was honored by Money magazine at No. 52 as a best-value college and ranked No. 5 nationally for the lowest student debt.