Eighty-five percent of UCI’s Pell Grant recipients go on to graduate, the second highest rate among U.S. universities. Steve Zylius / UCI

The University of California system, and UCI in particular, are doing significantly better than other U.S. four-year colleges when it comes to enrolling and graduating low-income students, according to a new findings by the Third Way.

In a review of federal Pell Grant data, Third Way – a Washington, D.C.-based think tank – reports that UCI ties for second with UC San Diego among U.S. colleges with graduating students who receive the need-based assistance. An impressive 85 percent of UCI’s Pell Grant recipients earn their degrees, nearly double the 49 percent rate nationally.

In fact, the seven top public universities to graduate Pell Grant students are UC campuses. The report’s authors summarized their findings in this Atlantic piece, contrasting UC’s success in serving disadvantaged students with dismal results at other institutions across the U.S.

“Every single time we do these outcome measures, the UC system stands out,” says Lanae Erickson Hatalsky, who leads the social policy and politics program at Third Way, in the Atlantic article. A 2016 report from Third Way on outcomes for students at public colleges also found that the UC system fared better than its peers.

UCI: doing the most

Earlier this year, UCI rated No. 4 in the Forbes 2018 Best Value College survey, which reviewed 300 schools on their ability to deliver the best bang for the buck, based on tuition costs, school quality, post-degree earnings, student debt and graduation success.

The Third Way and Forbes reports are the latest in a series of rankings that cement UCI’s standing in the top tier of national colleges. Last year, The New York Times’ College Access Index rated UCI No. 1 among U.S. universities doing the most for the American Dream and providing unparalleled opportunity for social mobility. Money also placed the campus at No. 7 among four-year universities for “educational quality, affordability and alumni success.”

In addition, U.S. News & World Report ranks UCI the ninth-best public university in America, and Money magazine listed UCI as the nation’s No. 1 university for beach lovers. In March, the U.S. News & World Report rated more than two dozen of UCI’s graduate programs among the top 25 nationwide. And the Sierra Club’s Sierra magazine has named the campus a top 10 “Coolest School” seven years in a row for its innovative sustainability programs.