UC Berkeley ranked second behind UCLA in Forbes Magazine’s America’s Best Value Colleges 2018 list, dropping from first place in 2016 and 2017.
UCLA’s yearly net price of $14,200 was the main reason for the flip in rankings, according to the Forbes article, given that UC Berkeley’s price is $17,200. Forbes also noted that 35 percent of UCLA students receive federal Pell Grants, whereas 31 percent of UC Berkeley students receive these grants.
Campus sophomore Ajaratu Hamid suggested that the Forbes list failed to fully acknowledge UC Berkeley’s reputation of academic prestige.
“Berkeley, as a brand, will always carry more weight than UCLA internationally,” Hamid said.
The Forbes list is based on net price, net debt, alumni earnings, timely graduation, school quality and access for low-income students, according to the article.
“The data comes from the government’s IPEDS database, from College Scorecard and PayScale,” said Forbes senior editor Susan Adams in an email. “I have colleagues who somehow pull that data into Forbes’ computers.”
Forbes reporter Justin Conklin said in a previous interview with The Daily Californian that Forbes’ college rankings received hundreds of thousands of online views.
Four schools in the list’s top 10 are part of the UC system — UC Irvine ranked as No. 4, and UC San Diego came in at No. 9.
“I feel like it says a lot about the UC system,” said campus junior Cymone Mack. “Maybe it’s because of financial reasons, academics and student life.”
With that being said, Forbes is not the only publication ranking colleges on the basis of “Best Value” — UC Berkeley shows up as No. 5 on Niche.com’s “Best Value Colleges in California” list, whereas UCLA is ranked at No. 11. Both UC Berkeley and UCLA are tied for No. 1 public university on the U.S. News & World Report list, but UC Berkeley shows up as No. 95 on its Best Value Schools list, compared to UCLA’s rank as No. 88.
As for how this will have an effect on where students choose to enroll, Mack said she isn’t worried.
“If a student is reading into it and sees that it’s based on net cost, then I don’t think it will have that big of an impact on their decision,” she said.