Fresno Pacific University continues to shine as a best value and a great way for graduates to improve not only their own lives, but their communities as well.

U.S. News & World Report placed FPU at number three in the social mobility category and at 27 in best values among Regional Universities—West in its 2021 Best Colleges rankings released today. Washington Monthly affirmed the best value message, ranking FPU at 35 on that list, released August 31. All three rankings were up from last year, when U.S. News rated FPU number four in social mobility and 35 in best value, and Washington Monthly listed FPU at 50 among best values.

“We are most proud of our number three rating as a top performer in social mobility because we love seeing economically disadvantaged students being successful and receiving their bachelor’s degree. The Central Valley has significantly fewer people with B.A. degrees compared to California as a whole. This ranking shows FPU is very affordable and students graduate quickly coming from either high school or community college,” said Jon Endicott, vice president for enrollment management.

The social mobility ranking especially resonates with FPU’s goal to provide a hope and a future to students and California’s Central Valley. The category seeks to measure the rate at which students from low-income backgrounds earn their bachelor’s degree. Research shows that, as a group, people who graduate college achieve more than those who don’t on a variety of measures: from career earnings to public service, family life to charitable donations.  

To determine social mobility, U.S. News compares the graduation rates of students receiving federal Pell Grants to the rate of students who do not. Pell Grants are the yardstick because students who receive them typically come from households earning less than $50,000 per year, though the family income for most Pell Grant recipients is under $40,000.  

“Economically disadvantaged students are less likely than others to finish college, even when controlling for other characteristics,” according to the U.S. News website. “But some colleges are more successful than others at advancing social mobility by enrolling and graduating large proportions of disadvantaged students awarded with Pell Grants.”

FPU also climbed in the overall Washington Monthly rankings to 77 among master’s universities from 135 last year. Washington Monthly rankings are unique in that they analyze a school’s contribution to the United States. U.S. News rated the university at 37 among Master’s Universities—West, after coming in at 31 for 2020 and 39 for 2019.


Wayne Steffen
Associate Director of Publications and Media Relations