The transformational education students receive at Fresno Pacific University was reflected in a number two rating by U.S. News & World Report in social mobility, as well as strong showings in Washington Monthly and Money.

“We are pleased the rankings recognize that Fresno Pacific University works tirelessly to spread the benefits of a Christian higher education to as many qualified young people and adults as possible in our region,” said Jon Endicott, vice president for enrollment management and student services. “Whether they are traditional undergraduates right out of high school, working adults finishing their bachelor’s degree or professionals increasing their impact with a master’s degree, our students transform not only their own lives, but their families, occupations and communities as well.”

Studies show those who earn a bachelor’s degree make an average of $1.2 million more over their lifetimes over those with only a high school diploma, as well as other financial and social benefits. Despite Rising Costs, College Is Still a Good Investment - Liberty Street Economics (

U.S. News

FPU placed second in social mobility in U.S. News Regional Universities—West category in rankings released September 12. Social mobility measures the rate at which students from low-income backgrounds earn their bachelor’s degree, by comparing the graduation rates of students receiving federal Pell Grants to the rate of students who do not, according to its college guide.

“Economically disadvantaged students are less likely than others to finish college, even when controlling for other characteristics. 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,” states the U.S. News College Guide website.

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.

Fresno Pacific has frequently been in the top five in social mobility since the category was created. In all, FPU was number 39 among Regional Universities—West and number 16 in Best Values in the category. The university’s overall score last year was 41.

Washington Monthly

FPU scored 64th nationally among master’s universities and 35th among Best Bang for the Buck schools in the West, up from 105 and 65 last year, respectively. Washington Monthly compares over 600 schools on its national list, paying significant attention to areas of inequality such as race and class.

Washington Monthly ranks more four-year schools—national universities, liberal arts colleges, baccalaureate colleges and master’s universities—based on their contribution to the public good in three broad categories: social mobility, research and providing opportunities for public service, according to its college guide website. The Best Bang for the Buck list uses social mobility metrics to rank schools that “help non-wealthy students obtain marketable degrees at affordable prices.”


The basics of social mobility, are also important to Money’s annual rankings. For 2022-23 FPU was 132 among 671 four-year colleges scored on 24 measures in three general areas: quality, affordability and outcomes.

Fresno Pacific University students are the face of the Central Valley. Some 49% of those enrolled at the campuses in Fresno, Merced, Visalia and Bakersfield are first-generation students. In addition, 45% identify as Latinx. In all, 67% of students at FPU come from families that earn less than $40,000 per year, and over 98% qualify for financial aid.


Wayne Steffen
Associate Director of Publications and Media Relations