UCI placed seventh in the Money magazine best-value rankings in 2017; this year, it was topped by only Princeton University and UC San Diego. Steve Zylius / UCI UCI campus; student center

Irvine, Calif., Aug. 13, 2018 — Acknowledging the University of California, Irvine’s stellar blend of accessible, high-quality education and alumni success, Money magazine has ranked it No. 3 on its 2018 list of the “best colleges in the U.S.”

According to Money, the included schools “deliver a superior education at an affordable price, enabling graduates to avoid heavy debt and succeed in the workplace.” Only Princeton University and UC San Diego topped UCI this year. In 2017, the campus placed seventh in the Money rankings.

“We are delighted that UCI has once again been recognized as one of the finest public universities in the U.S.,” said Chancellor Howard Gillman. “Combining outstanding academics with outstanding value is one of the great challenges facing American higher education, and the fact that we are identified as a national leader is a testament to the great work of our faculty, students, staff and supporters.”

In indicators of short- and long-term affordability, UCI shined. The campus provides need-based grants to 68 percent of its students, a figure that no other college in Money’s top 20 can match. And according to the survey, UCI graduates’ median debt load is $17,000, with early-career earnings of $54,900 per year. Money also included newly available data on how many Pell Grant recipients a school graduates, a measure of how well it supports low-income students.

In excess of 11,800 UCI enrollees received Pell Grants in 2016-17 – the most among the Money top 10 and more than the entire Ivy League combined. And the majority of them are first-generation students, for whom a university education provides a means for upward mobility. Almost half of UCI’s incoming class of in-state freshmen are first-gen, and the ratio is even higher for California-resident transfer students.

These factors determining the Money rankings help explain why, among UC campuses, UCI had the largest number of in-state freshman applications for the 2018-19 academic year from underrepresented minorities, the most from Chicanos/Latinos and the second-most from African Americans.

Rising in the rankings

The Money recognition is the latest in a series putting UCI in the top tier of U.S. universities for affordability and excellence. Earlier this year, it was No. 4 in Forbes2018 survey of best-value colleges, which judged schools on their ability to deliver the biggest bang for the tuition buck based on costs, academic quality, postgrad earnings, student debt and graduation success. Money also included UCI in its 2017 list of “The 25 Best Public Colleges for Big Paychecks.”

And for the second consecutive time, the campus tops The New York Times’ College Access Index of U.S. universities based on their commitment to economic diversity, which takes into account the number of low- and middle-income students that a school enrolls and the price it charges them.

About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is the youngest member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. The campus has produced three Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 30,000 students and offers 192 degree programs. It’s located in one of the world’s safest and most economically vibrant communities and is Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $5 billion annually to the local economy. For more on UCI, visit www.uci.edu.

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