UC San Diego and UC Riverside Named 'Most Socially Conscious' Universities

ucriverside-sign.jpg
UC Riverside (via Facebook)

UC San Diego and UC Riverside have been ranked first and second in the annual "socially conscious" list of national universities released today by Washington Monthly, with the UC system as a whole garnering praise.

That's the fourth year in a row that the San Diego campus topped the "socially conscious" list, which emphasizes factors such as access and graduation rate for low-income students, research for funding, and how the school encourages students' public service including Peace Corps and ROTC.

As the magazine puts it, "Unlike U.S. News and World Report and similar guides, this one asks not what colleges can do for you, but what colleges are doing for the country. Are they educating low-income students, or just catering to the affluent? Are they improving the quality of their teaching, or ducking accountability for it? Are they trying to become more productive—and if so, why is average tuition rising faster than health care costs? Every year we lavish billions of tax dollars and other public benefits on institutions of higher learning. This guide asks: Are we getting the most for our money?"

The UC system continues to receive good grades from the magazine for its social consciousness, with four campuses in the top 10 and six in the top 25. UC Riverside moved up to second nationally from ninth last year, UC Berkeley was fifth, UCLA 10th, UC Santa Barbara 22nd and UC Davis 23rd.

That's opposed to U.S. News's listings, which rank academic reputation and how hard it is to get in: Harvard and Princeton tied for first place on that list, with UC San Diego tying for 38th with UC Davis and Lehigh University, the L.A. Times points out.

If you're looking at social issues, the Washington Montly ranks Harvard in eighth place, with Princeton in 31st.

Washington Monthly noted that UC's accomplishments are all the more praiseworthy, considering the amount of cutbacks and tuition hikes that have hit state schools.