While University of California students and faculty were worrying about budget cuts, the Institute for Higher Education at Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China was compiling its 2009 college rankings, which place UC Santa Barbara 35th in the world among both public and private universities. Seven UC campuses placed in the top 50. UC Berkeley ranks third, with UCLA, UC San Diego, and UC San Francisco following at 13th, 14th, and 18th, respectively. The others in the top 50 are UC Irvine and UC Davis.

University of California campuses hold strong positions in various other rankings as well. According to U.S. News and World Report, the medical centers at UCLA and UC San Francisco are among America’s top 10 hospitals. UC Berkeley and UCLA are the top two best public universities in the country, respectively, according to the magazine’s 2010 Best Colleges: Public Schools rankings. UCSD, UC Davis, UCSB, and UC Irvine all follow close behind, in the top 15.

The Washington Monthly selected UC Berkeley, UCSD, and UCLA as the top three universities nationwide. UCSB follows at number 21, among the seven UC campuses in the top 50. The Washington Monthly compiles its rankings with a primary emphasis on social mobility, research, and service – criteria it believes are good for the community and the country, not just the student.

The Arizona State University Center for Measuring University Performance’s Top American Research Universities ranks U.S. research universities based on nine specific measures. UC Berkeley, UCLA, UCSF, UCSD, UC Davis, and UCSB all ranked in the top 25 for at least one measure; UC Berkeley and UCLA hold the distinction of being ranked in the top 25 in all measures.

PayScale.com, a Seattle firm that compiles rankings based on how much alumni earn, placed six UC campuses among the top 20 U.S. colleges: UC Berkeley, UCSD, UCSB, UCLA, UC Davis, and UC Irvine produce alumni that earn the most.

What is striking is UCSB’s absence from Sierra Magazine‘s “top ten coolest schools” list, while Berkeley, UCSC, and UCLA somehow hold the distinction.

But regardless of who’s cooler, while financial turmoil slowly erodes University of California campuses from the inside out, at least to this point, in relation to colleges worldwide, UC has been thriving.


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