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Long Beach State ranks No.1 in Western U.S. for best value for ‘non-wealthy’ students

Best Value.

That’s what you get when attending Long Beach State. At least according to Washington Monthly, which ranked CSULB No. 1 in the Western United States for four-year institutions that best aid “non-wealthy” students in receiving affordable degrees.

“When I think about why go to college, it is to improve your life,” CSULB President Jane Close Conoley, said. “And one way to improve your life is economically.”

Washington Monthly, a bimonthly nonprofit magazine known for its annual ranking of U.S. colleges and universities, named CSULB the “Best Bang for the Buck,” after isolating data demonstrating the college’s impact in driving social mobility.

Long Beach State pulled ahead as No.1, moving up from No. 10 in 2020, in a list that includes hundreds of post-secondary schools, according to Washington Monthly.

California State University, Long Beach, ranks number one in social mobility categories.
California State University, Long Beach, ranks number one in social mobility categories.

Nick Valdivia, the director of the financial aid office, said part of the reason CSULB is ranked so high is that 53% of students are grant recipients, including the Pell Grant, State University Grant or California Grant.

In fact, 71% of students at CSULB receive some sort of financial aid and about 57% of undergraduate students graduate with no debt, according to CSULB.

However, the Washington Monthly’s report found that Pell Grant recipients at CSULB were 5% less likely to graduate than non-Pell Grant students. Valdivia referred to this difference in graduation rates as an achievement gap.

“I do know this number was up in the high teens just five years ago,” Valdivia said. “The university has made a concerted effort to eliminate the achievement gap for Pell Grant recipients.”

Some of those efforts include the Graduation Initiative 2025, which looks to increase graduation rates for all CSU students.

In addition, Long Beach State provides resources for students who struggle with food and housing needs.

The ASI Beach Pantry provides non-perishable food items for current students and can be easily accessed with a simple registration through BeachBoard.

The university also provides vouchers for students with housing insecurities to stay at local hotels.

Alumni also work with CSULB, giving back to the community by donating money for food and re-housing programs. Meanwhile businesses and industrial corporations have provided more than 600 student with internships.

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