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Universities in the latest rankings by Washington Monthly were evaluated overall based on their contribution to the public good in three categories: social mobility, including recruiting and graduating low-income students; research that produces cutting-edge scholarship and doctoral graduates; and service that encourages students to give back to their country.
Specific criteria used to rate the excelling schools include net price, graduation rate, research expenditures, science/engineering doctoral degrees awarded, significant faculty awards, faculty in national academies, Peace Corps and ROTC ranks, community service and financial aid. Best value schools are ranked according to students receiving Pell grants, graduation rate, default rate and net price.
ASU supports student success through financial support that provides opportunities for students to reach their academic goals. At a time when higher education enrollment has dropped nationally, ASU has grown both in numbers of students and the quality of students enrolling. The pay-off of an ASU education is also evident. In a survey of ASU students who earned a bachelor’s degree in 2012, 83.4 percent of those who reported they were seeking a job were either working or had been offered at least one job within 90 days of graduation.
Pell grant recipients at ASU have also grown from 10,344 during the 2002-2003 academic year to 26,074 in 2011-2012. These awards provide need-based grants to low-income undergraduate and certain post-baccalaureate students to promote access to postsecondary education.
ASU also produces graduates who make a difference in the world. As the state’s top-producing school for Peace Corps volunteers, ASU is number 14 on Peace Corps’ 2013 Top Colleges rankings for large national schools. The university was also named a “Military Friendly School for 2013” by G.I. Jobs magazine for the fourth consecutive year.
In the research arena, ASU has experienced dramatic growth in recent years by tripling its research enterprise since 2002 with more than $405 million in expenditures for 2013. The university focuses on discovery in a broad range of strategic research areas designed to address everything from advanced manufacturing and next generation health diagnostics to reliable alternative fuels and innovative entrepreneurial endeavors that benefit society at large.
Since 2003, ASU has increased the number of high-level faculty members and experts on campus with the addition of 156 new award recipients, fellows or academy members, which include two Nobel laureates, 11 National Academy of Sciences members, 11 American Academy of Arts and Sciences members, 121 Fulbright American Scholar awards, 27 Guggenheim Fellows and three members of the Royal Society. The university awarded 828 doctoral degrees in fiscal year 2012.
ASU also makes a difference in the community with 499 outreach programs in 178 locations, offered by 123 different units and totaling 782 outreach opportunities.
The top five schools on the list are University of California-San Diego, University of California-Riverside, Texas A&M University, Case Western Reserve University and University of California-Berkeley. The University of Arizona is ranked No. 66 overall among national universities and No. 20 for “Best Bang for the Buck” schools.