We're used to seeing the likes of Caltech, UCLA and USC on lists of the most prestigious universities in the world and country.
See also: UCLA Is a Top 10 Global University
But it's rare that a UC Riverside or a Cal State Long Beach makes the top echelon of any such ranking. Until now.
You see, the Obama administration has proposed its own system of assessing schools based on graduation rates, affordability, and the number of students who receive federal grants. Time magazine recently went ahead and did its own ranking of universities based on White House criteria:
The magazine measured 2,500 campuses across the nation based on the Obama method and found that UC Riverside beat them all. It came in first place.
Not only that, but three other Southern California universities made the top 10: UC San Diego (number 2), UC Irvine (4), and Cal State Long Beach (10).
Time notes that there is heavy emphasis here on the socioeconomic impact of an education. Obama's folks are clearly trying to give the thumbs up to schools that successfully cater to non-rich kids. Time:
By rewarding both accessibility and graduation rate, this system corners one of the trickiest problems facing schools looking to climb the rankings: Students from low-income backgrounds are statistically less likely to graduate. The most expedient way for a school to boost its graduate rate would be not to admit students in this cohort. Doing so, however, would theoretically hurt the school in the accessibility category more than it boosted the school in the graduation category, resulting in a drop in the ratings. At least, this is how a good White House algorithm would work.
If this ranking has the ring of truth, then California is still the ultimate land of upward mobility and opportunity.