Cal Poly Named California’s Best Public-Master’s University by Forbes

Business magazine also calls Cal Poly a Best Value school whose graduates are among the highest-earners educated in public institutions in the U.S.

SAN LUIS OBISPO — Cal Poly is the best public-master’s university in California, and its graduates are among the highest-earning in the nation, according to Forbes’ 2017 Top Colleges rankings.

Cal Poly was listed seventh in the state on the America’s Top Colleges list among public universities, behind first-place UC Berkeley (29th overall) and University of California campuses at Los Angeles (48th), Santa Barbara (83rd), San Diego (93rd), Davis (102nd) and Irvine (106th) — all highly active research institutions that offer doctorate degrees as well as bachelor’s and master’s degrees. 

Cal Poly ranked 38th among all public universities in the nation. Overall, the university was 153rd among the 650 public and private universities in the U.S. ranked in the 10th annual list, which was released Aug. 2. The top five schools were Harvard, Stanford, Yale and Princeton universities and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The magazine’s goal in producing this year’s America’s Top Colleges list was “to showcase the colleges and universities that deliver the best return on your education investment dollars.” As a result, it is primarily a “fiscally minded” ranking that did not take into account such issues as campus atmosphere, sports, Greek life or specialized majors and research opportunities.

The methodology favored variables such as alumni salary, student debt and retention and graduation rates instead of more common metrics such as acceptance rates, endowment amounts and freshmen SAT scores — “numbers that say far more about a school’s prestige than its actual effectiveness,” the magazine said.

In addition, Forbes looked at the earning power of each school’s graduates. Cal Poly, whose grads earn an average of $102,000 at the midpoint of their careers, ranked 13th in the nation and third in the state (behind UC Berkeley and UC San Diego) among public universities.

Military academies dominated the top five places — and six of the top 10 — with top-ranked SUNY Maritime College graduates earning $144,000 annually.

In April, Forbes named Cal Poly a Best Value College — one of 300 public and private schools the magazine said were “worth the investment.” Cal Poly was ranked and 73rd in the nation among public and private colleges and seventh in the state among public schools (behind University of California institutions).

Like other schools with programs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), Cal Poly made a strong showing in the top Best Value schools, list where STEM schools accounting for 70 of the top 100 spots.

STEM majors are where the jobs and bigger salaries are. Nationally, two out of every five bachelor's degrees (40 percent) earned by men and nearly a third (29 percent) earned by women are in science and engineering, driven largely by growth in the “hard sciences,” Forbes reported. This demand for workers is fueled by an explosion of technology and drive for competitive innovation in all industries, the magazine reported.

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To see the list of 650 schools in Forbes’ 2017 Top Colleges rankings, visit:

 To see the ranking methodology:

Contact: Jay Thompson

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