SJSU graduates jumping in the air to celebrate their graduation

San José State University ranks No. 1 in Money’s Most Transformative Colleges list for 2020. Photo: David Schmitz

*Editor’s Note: This story was updated on October 30, 2020, to reflect SJSU”s #5 ranking in Best Colleges Where More Than Half of Applicants Get In.

San José State University is the most transformative college in the United States for 2020-2021, according to rankings announced by Money magazine.

“While likely not surprising to the countless students whose lives and families have been improved and changed forever by the academic and personal journey they have undertaken at San José State, this tremendous honor brings pride to every member of Spartan Nation,” said SJSU President Mary A. Papazian.

SJSU also was ranked number 24 on Money’s list of Best Colleges, ranked by value, up from its No. 104 ranking last year. Rankings are determined by more than 20,000 data points, including tuition fees, family borrowing, and career earnings. More than 700 universities are analyzed for Money’s rankings.

Other national rankings featuring SJSU were:

“As the nation continues to become more and more diverse, we know that education remains key to the American Dream and the social mobility of our residents,” said Papazian. “We see this every day at San José State, with stories of determination, aspiration and success, and could not be more delighted to be recognized by Money for our efforts to help our diverse students achieve a college degree and develop the tools they need for lifelong learning.”

Adding Value by Beating the Odds

“It’s not surprising that elite schools report high graduation rates or alumni success,” Money said. “What’s impressive is when students beat the odds by doing better than would be expected from their academic and economic backgrounds. We call this a college’s value add.”

For the Most Transformative schools list, Money ranked colleges based on their exclusive value-added scores for graduation rates, earnings, and student loan repayment.

Money estimated a graduation rate of 65 percent for SJSU, a rate that is 31 percent higher than at universities with similar student demographics.

Affordability in a high-cost region

The publication estimates 62 percent of San Jose State students receive grants, and the estimated price of attendance for students who receive aid is $15,200. The publication adds that 86 percent of student need is met.

“For the fall 2020 semester alone, San José State awarded aid to nearly 20,000 students, which is absolutely critical given the current budgetary climate,” said Papazian. “We will continue the important work to make college affordable and help alleviate the heavy financial burden felt by so many students and their families.”