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UC San Diego Once Again Named 5-Star College by Money

Four students gather on Sun God Lawn.
Students gather on Sun God Lawn. Photos by Erik Jepsen.

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The University of California San Diego has once again achieved a 5-star rating in Money's Best Colleges in America 2024 list. This recognition, awarded annually to colleges that excel in both quality and affordability, places UC San Diego among one of the 18 public universities in the country to earn 5 stars.

Now in its 10th year, Money’s Best Colleges list analyzed 745 four-year private and public colleges based on data points related to quality, affordability and student outcomes. The latest ranking awarded a total of 54 institutions nationwide with a 5-star rating—the highest score available.

Money ranked the colleges on 25 factors across three categories: quality of education (30%), affordability (40%) and outcomes (30%). Graduation rates, net price of a degree, employment outcomes and alumni salaries are among some of the data points analyzed to calculate the final score.

Students gather resources at a career fair.
Students gather resources at a career fair.

“Receiving this prestigious 5-star rating for the second consecutive year reinforces UC San Diego's unwavering dedication to academic excellence and affordability,” said Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. “An education from UC San Diego is a catalyst for transformation, empowering students to drive positive change, turn innovative ideas into reality and make a lasting impact. And, we firmly believe that every Triton student—regardless of financial background—deserves the opportunity to flourish, succeed and graduate with a high-value degree that opens doors to a bright future.”

In its 2024 ranking edition, Money recognized UC San Diego as one of the world's leading research universities, spotlighting the institution's high-caliber faculty and excellence in the sciences. The editors also highlighted notable alumni, including Mike Judge, creator of iconic TV shows like “King of the Hill” and “Beavis and Butt-Head,” and Billy Beane, who applied his economics education as general manager of the Oakland Athletics—an impressive story chronicled in the popular book and movie “Moneyball.”

UC San Diego offers an array of resources and opportunities that help lead students to finding an ideal job, internship, post-graduate education opportunity or experiential outcome. At the university’s Career Center, students can meet one-on-one with a career coach to learn how to navigate the job search, receive a resume review and more.

Participants at The Basement’s 2024 Demo Day and Pitch competition.
The Basement’s 2024 Demo Day and Pitch competition.

Tritons also enthusiastically pursue research opportunities, academic activities and involvement in student organizations that offer invaluable hands-on experience and training. For example, members of the UC San Diego Speech and Debate Team enhance their analytical abilities and public speaking skills through local and national competitions. Recently, the club achieved remarkable success, securing three national championship titles at the 2024 Biennial Tournament

At The Basement—a dedicated campus space for innovation and entrepreneurship—students immerse themselves in the startup creation process. At The Basement’s recent 2024 Demo Day and Pitch competition, students showcased groundbreaking projects, such as a new bike theft prevention method and a humanoid AI system designed to support student access to mental health resources. 

In addition to receiving this new 5-star rating from Money, UC San Diego consistently earns recognition in numerous national and international university rankings. The university was ranked as the sixth best public university in the U.S. News & World Report 2024 Best Colleges rankings. For more rankings, please visit the university’s Campus Profile. Detailed information about Money’s Best Colleges in America 2024 list and methodology can be found on the outlet’s website.

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