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UC Merced leaps up national list of schools, report says

UC Merced lights up new buildings to celebrate first phase of 2020 Project

A building lighting ceremony was held to celebrate the completion of the first phase of the University of California, Merced 2020 Project on Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018.
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A building lighting ceremony was held to celebrate the completion of the first phase of the University of California, Merced 2020 Project on Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018.

UC Merced jumped more than 25 spots up the annual U.S. News and World Report Best Colleges national ranking for universities.

After 14 years, UC Merced moved up 29 positions on the list released on Monday to No. 136 overall among “National Universities,” as well as leaping 20 spots to No. 67 for “Top Public Schools.”

The report notes more than 70 percent of UC Merced students are the first in their families to attend college, which is the highest of any University of California campus.

The university is among the top five public schools nationally for the average financial aid package awarded to undergraduate students, according to a news release. The report says 86 percent of students get some kind of financial aid.

UC Merced also outpaced the US News’ prediction for graduation rates with the six-year rate being 16 percentage points higher than expected. That put UC Merced at No. 2 of universities in the nation for outperforming on that measure.

“We have talented, dedicated, hard-working students at UC Merced, and it is our mission to support every one of them and ensure they all have the opportunity to fulfill their potential,” Chancellor Dorothy Leland said in a news release. “UC Merced is a force for positive change in California and the San Joaquin Valley, and a rising star at the national level for our faculty research and the success of our students and alumni.”

UC Merced’s School of Engineering was recognized as well. The undergraduate engineering program, which debuted in last year’s U.S. News rankings, appears this year at No. 113 among public schools and No. 167 overall, according to a news release.

“We are proud of the remarkable and rapid growth of our School of Engineering and its growing national reputation,” Dean Mark Matsumoto said in a news release. “Our faculty, staff, students and alumni take pride in this well-earned milestone, which is truly the culmination of all of their hard work.”

The university’s School of Engineering most recently placed No. 127 in the nation among engineering graduate schools.

UC Merced also made the top 100 in three individual areas of the overall U.S. News rankings:

  • No. 17 among national public universities and No 43 overall for “Best Undergraduate Teaching,” based on votes by top college administrators.

  • No. 41 among national public universities and No. 88 overall for financial resources, as measured by per-student spending on instruction, research, student services and related educational expenditures.

  • No. 44 among national public universities and No. 96 overall for alumni giving rate.

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