For too long, elite higher education has primarily served the privileged few. At UCI we make a world-class education available to all talented, hardworking students, regardless of background. In so doing, we remind the country that great universities can reinvigorate the American dream by becoming the most powerful engines of social mobility ever created.
— UCI Chancellor Howard Gillman
Money Magazine - #1 Best College
UCI is #1 best college in the U.S.
"I am delighted to see UC Irvine become the first-ever public university to score the top spot. What an impressive feat!" - UC President Janet Napolitano
In 2019, Money magazine named UCI No. 1 on its annual list of the nation’s “Best Colleges,” making it the first public university to achieve the top spot. The ranking acknowledges UCI’s continued commitment to providing accessible, high-quality education and fostering alumni success. The campus scored well across the board but especially in the measures of low-income and Pell Grant enrollment and favorable graduate outcomes – reflecting UCI’s role in advancing upward social mobility and doing the most for the American dream.
One of the thorniest problems in society is the vanishing American dream. It’s no secret that a college degree is the best way for young adults to catapult themselves from a disadvantaged past to a better future. But that path is increasingly elusive.
Too many of America’s best colleges and universities enroll more students from the wealthiest 1 percent of families than from the bottom 60 percent. This imbalance damages the U.S. economy, widens the gulf between rich and poor, and goes against a fundamental mission of universities: to empower and expand opportunities for everyone.
UCI has won national praise for its success in breaking this pattern and creating an educational “big tent.” This website highlights some of the personal student stories, national rankings, diversity outreach programs and other elements of UCI’s quest to make the American dream more attainable for all.
Forbes Highest Upward Mobility Rates
Average Mid-career salary by institution. Data: The Equal Opportunity Project, PayScale
For the second consecutive year, UCI tops The New York Times’ College Access Index of U.S. universities based on their commitment to economic diversity. The ranking takes into account the number of low- and middle-income students that a college enrolls and the price it charges them.