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Cal Poly Named One of Nation’s Best Values by Kiplinger’s Finance Magazine

Entrance to Cal Poly's campusCal Poly was named a 2018 best-value college by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, placing 27th in the nation and sixth in the state among public universities and colleges in the magazine’s annual ranking.

Kiplinger’s, a personal finance and business forecasting organization, ranked the top 300 best-value colleges and universities “based on quality and affordability” from data culled from nearly 1,200 public and private four-year institutions across the nation.

Cal Poly also ranked 86th overall — rising 11 places from last year’s ranking — among U.S. public and private institutions.

University President Jeffrey D. Armstrong said the ranking is proof that a Cal Poly education is an investment that will provides students and alumni “with a lifetime of dividends.” 

“This recognition underscores the value of a Learn by Doing education from Cal Poly,” he said. “Our students come to our university attracted by the small class sizes and Learn by Doing. And industry seeks out our graduates because of the know-how, adaptability and practical skills they bring to the job on Day One.”

Introduced in 1998, the Kiplinger ranking combines public schools, private universities and private liberal arts colleges into a single, comprehensive list, with analysis based on objective measurements of academic quality and affordability.

Cal Poly ranked 12th among California’s public institutions and private universities. Among Golden State public universities, Cal Poly was sixth behind the five University of California campuses: Berkeley, Los Angeles, San Diego, Santa Barbara and Irvine.

The magazine rated each school in five categories: competitiveness (examining the ratio of applicants offered admission to those who actually enroll); graduation rates; academic support (measured by the number of freshmen who return for their sophomore year and the average number of students per faculty member); cost and financial aid; student debt at graduation; and median salary 10 years after graduation.

The rankings focused on traditional four-year schools with broad-based curricula and on-campus student housing. Schools that offered great value but focused on specific or narrow academic programs, such as military academies, were not included.

The full rankings are available online and will appear in print in the February 2018 issue of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. To see the complete list of top-value institutions, visit


Posted Jan 10, 2018

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