September 8, 2021

UC Riverside is No. 1 in Pell Grant performance

Among 393 universities, Washington Monthly found UCR the best in a measure of how it serves low-income students

Author: J.D. Warren
September 8, 2021

A dive into Washington Monthly’s recent ranking of 393 four-year universities reveals an important success: UC Riverside is the No. 1 university in the nation for Pell Grant performance. The measure considers how many low-income students a university serves compared with statewide earnings.

The Pell Grant is the largest federal grant program offered to undergraduates and is typically awarded to students from households earning less than $65,000 per year.

Also, according to the most recent federal data, UCR graduated the second-most Pell Grant students in the country with 1,675. Sister campus UC Irvine, which ranked No. 32 overall in Pell Grant performance, registered 2,000 Pell graduates in the most recent measure from the data. Irvine has about 37,000 students, with 38% of them receiving a Pell Grant; UCR has about 26,000 students, with 47% receiving a Pell Grant. 

UCR's Pell Grant students actually graduate at a higher rate than non-Pell students, 77% to 76%, according to the most recent federal data available.  

According to the magazine’s methodology statement, Pell Grant success is considered tantamount to “colleges’ commitment to educating a diverse group of students.”

The source of Washington Monthly's data is the National Center for Education Statistics' Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, or IPEDS.

In its 2021 ranking of top national universities, which was released this past week, Washington Monthly named UCR No. 28 among public universities in the U.S., and No. 53 overall. 

In the subcategory of social mobility, UCR was No. 29 among four-year universities ranked in Washington Monthly’s 2021 list. UCR’s social mobility ranking was No. 34 in 2020. Social mobility considers the graduation rates and future earnings of low-income students. Among its factors, the social mobility score considers how many students graduate who have received a Pell Grant.

On Sept. 13, the marquee college rankings list will be released, from U.S. News & World Report. In its 2019 and 2020 lists, U.S. News & World Report ranked UCR No. 1 in the U.S. for social mobility. 

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