Money Magazine Ranks UC Davis in Nation’s Top 5

A line of orientation leaders outside the Mondavi Center
Student orientation leaders prepare to meet up with incoming freshmen at UC Davis. (Karin Higgins/UC Davis)

The University of California, Davis, is one of the nation’s top five universities, according to Money Magazine’s 2019 “Best Colleges” ranking released today (Aug. 12).

UC Davis is fourth among public universities nationally, and fifth overall, among the 744 schools that the magazine examined. The publication ranked each school using 26 factors in three categories: quality of education, affordability and outcomes.

The campus moved up from eighth among public universities and 11th overall in last year’s ranking of slightly fewer schools.

“UC Davis continues to move forward boldly, and this ranking reflects the fact that UC Davis offers a world-class education to students from all backgrounds,” said Chancellor Gary S. May. “Most importantly, it looks at outcomes for our students, our most essential mission, and shows that we continue to find more and more ways to help our students thrive when they enter the global workforce.”

Sister campuses UC Irvine (No. 1) and UCLA (No. 4) were the only California universities to rank higher that UC Davis. Other California campuses in the top 10 were Stanford University (No. 6) and UC San Diego (No. 9).

The quality measures highlighted two of UC Davis’ strengths: They included the transfer student population and, as a way to measure how well schools support their low-income students, the graduation rates of students receiving the federal Pell Grant.

UC Davis is a leader in educating transfer students. One in four undergraduates started as a transfer student, with most coming from a California community college.

The campus also has a high percentage of undergraduates who receive Pell grants. About 85.3 percent of freshmen recipients graduate within six years, and 84.5 percent of transfer recipients graduate within three years.

More information on this year’s rankings can be found online.

Other recent rankings

Media Resources

Julia Ann Easley, 530-752-8248,

Primary Category