BERKELEY, Calif. (KRON) — UC Berkeley has earned the top spot in the “America’s Best Colleges 2021” ranking by Forbes, becoming the first public school to take #1.
Stanford came in at #4.
The honor comes after Forbes made an adjustment to how they rank colleges. This time around, the media company said it started giving extra points to colleges with a more diverse range of students. The more accessible the college is to low-income students, the better.
Forbes said 27% of Berkeley’s undergraduate students receive federal Pell Grants, an aid meant for low-income to moderate-income students. This is more than double Harvard’s percentage of Pell Grant recipients at 12%.
The company also changed up how it verifies post-grad earnings, using data from the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard — a larger, more representative dataset.
According to Forbes, their low-income students earn enough to pay back college costs within a year, on average. Berkeley students from higher economic backgrounds will take about 1.45 years to earn back their college costs.
Even without the additional aid, Forbes said an education at Berkeley comes at a comparatively reasonable cost. In-state undergraduates pay a little over $14,000 per year, while out-of-state students pay $29,000 more per year.
In addition, Forbes emphasizes Berkeley’s “world-class academics, great sports, a stunning Bay Area setting, reasonable costs and a storied history.”
Berkeley is just one part of the University of California’s greater educational system that is highly regarded. Three other UC campuses made the top 25: UCLA (#8), UC San Diego (#15), and UC Davis (#20).
Most recent data shows that UC Berkeley enrolled over 31,000 undergraduate students with a 16% acceptance rate. See the full methodology here.