University Affairs

USU Ranked 8th Among Nation's Public Universities

Students walk across Utah State University's main campus in Logan. The Washington Monthly recently named USU the No. 8 public university in the nation.

Advancing social mobility helped lead to Utah State University being selected as the No. 8 public university and No. 22 among all national universities in the Washington Monthly 2022 National University Rankings released this week.

Each year, the Washington Monthly ranks colleges based on their contributions to the public good in three broad categories: social mobility, research and promoting public service. USU was the highest-ranked public university in Utah.

“We are pleased to see Utah State University has been recognized for the work we have done in these areas,” said President Noelle E. Cockett. “This ranking places USU among the top institutions in the nation that share a commitment to a high-quality educational experience. The education we provide pays off in the long run by positioning our students for maximum success.”

USU performed particularly well in the social mobility category, earning a No. 16 ranking across all national universities. For this category, the Washington Monthly took into consideration a school’s overall graduation rates and as they compare to those of students receiving Pell grants, predicted incomes 10 years after entering college, students’ ability to repay student loans, and the overall net price of attendance for families earning below a certain amount.

Over the last several years, USU has put renewed focus on student success and retention, including through the Aggie First Scholars program and Student Support Services. The Aggie First Scholars program has grown rapidly in the last six years and aims to support and celebrate first-generation college students, many of whom come from families with lower socioeconomic backgrounds.

“These rankings show that USU has provided a framework for our students to gain access to an education and acquire the experiences needed for positive economic and social outcomes after graduation,” said Robert Wagner, USU executive vice president. “We talk a lot about creating the conditions that allow all of our students to succeed, and we actively pursue and welcome students who may not have traditionally had access to a higher education.”

The Washington Monthly’s research score for national universities is based on five measurements: research spending; science and engineering Ph.D.s awarded by the university; undergraduate alumni who have gone on to receive a Ph.D. in any subject, relative to the size of the college; the number of faculty receiving prestigious awards, relative to the number of full-time faculty; and the number of faculty in the National Academies, relative to the number of full-time faculty.

In December 2021, USU joined the highest level of research institutions in the country by earning the Carnegie R1 Classification for “very high research activity.” As one of two R1 institutions in Utah, USU prides itself on providing a high-quality education at an affordable price. And as the state’s land-grant university, USU extends research opportunities to students across the state, at its main campus in Logan and through its statewide system of 30 campuses and centers.

USU had record-high research funding in the 2021 fiscal year, receiving awards totaling $368.5 million, a 26 percent increase from the previous year. USU’s total funding includes $124.5 million generated by researchers on campus, as well as $244 million in contracts and grants from USU’s Space Dynamics Laboratory.

The community service score is measured across several metrics that constitute an overall ranking. In this year’s report, USU is ranked No. 26 in the nation for service, a number made possible due to the percentage of USU graduates who study service-oriented majors and USU’s Carnegie Community Engagement Classification.

In 2020, the Carnegie Foundation noted that “USU has made significant strides in finding ways to engage with community partners, building on community assets, and addressing a wide array of community challenges.”

As a land-grant institution, community engagement is central to USU’s mission to serve the public through learning, discovery and engagement. USU upholds its mission by responding specifically and concretely to community-identified needs throughout the state, both on its main Logan campus and on the 32 other statewide campuses across the state. All 33 of USU’s campuses are deeply rooted in their local communities and responsive to the needs of those communities, offering an unprecedented opportunity for community engagement.

About Utah State University

Since its founding in 1888, Utah State University has evolved from a small agricultural college tucked away in the Northern Utah mountains to a thriving, multi-campus research university known throughout the world for its intellectual and technological leadership. Utah State is a premier student-centered land-grant and space-grant university that fosters the principle that academics come first by cultivating diversity of thought and culture, and by serving the public through learning, discovery and engagement.


Emilie Wheeler
News Director
University Marketing and Communications


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