People entering and exiting the UCI Student Center.
The Money magazine ranking is the latest in a series putting UCI in the top tier of U.S. universities for affordability and excellence. Steve Zylius / UCI

Irvine, Calif., May 16, 2022 Money magazine has ranked the University of California, Irvine ninth in its 2022 list of the U.S.’s “Best Colleges” – making it the highest-rated California university. The annual ranking, released today, acknowledges UCI’s continued growth in providing accessible, high-quality education and fostering alumni success.

“We are delighted that UCI has once again been recognized as one of the premier universities in the nation,” said Chancellor Howard Gillman. “This ranking reflects our deep commitment to providing student opportunity and validates our intentional agenda to promote the American dream by being an engine of upward mobility through higher education.”

According to Money, UCI scored highly in the areas of quality, affordability and outcomes. It’s among the top public universities in the U.S. for Pell Grant enrollment and favorable graduate outcomes for these students. Money also notes that UCI has a high percentage of students receiving some form of a financial aid grant (69 percent) who graduate with lower levels of debt. These factors determining the Money ranking help explain why, among UC campuses, UCI had the largest total number of in-state freshman applications for the 2022-23 academic year, as well as the second-most from underrepresented minorities and Chicanos/Latinos.

In indicators of short- and long-term affordability, UCI continually excels. Nearly 10,000 UCI enrollees received Pell Grants in 2021-22, many of them first-generation students, for whom a university education is a means of upward social mobility. UCI has a webpage on its commitment to helping individuals achieve the American dream.

The Money recognition is the latest in a series putting UCI in the top tier of U.S. universities for affordability and excellence. In 2019, Money ranked UCI No. 1, and Forbes put UCI first in the country among public universities for “best value” – a school’s ability to deliver the biggest bang for the tuition buck based on costs, academic quality, postgrad earnings, student debt and graduation success. U.S. News & World Report currently rates UCI the ninth-best public university in America. And in the 2019 Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education ranking of this nation’s universities, UCI placed first for offering an inclusive, supportive learning environment.

A member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, UCI has twice topped The New York Times’ College Access Index of U.S. universities “doing the most for the American dream” for its commitment to upward mobility.

About UCI’s Brilliant Future campaign: Publicly launched on Oct. 4, 2019, the Brilliant Future campaign aims to raise awareness and support for UCI. By engaging 75,000 alumni and garnering $2 billion in philanthropic investment, UCI seeks to reach new heights of excellence in student success, health and wellness, research and more. Learn more by visiting

About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities and is ranked among the nation’s top 10 public universities by U.S. News & World Report. The campus has produced five Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 36,000 students and offers 224 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 $7 billion annually to the local economy and $8 billion statewide. For more on UCI, visit

Media access: Radio programs/stations may, for a fee, use an on-campus ISDN line to interview UCI faculty and experts, subject to availability and university approval. For more UCI news, visit Additional resources for journalists may be found at