Pacific Union College and La Sierra University Listed in U.S. News & World Report Best Col

by Yara Y. Enamorado

The U.S. News & World Report 2022-2023 Best Colleges guide was released September 12, and we are proud to announce that both Pacific Union College (PUC) and La Sierra University were ranked in the top 50 within the western region. 

How they ranked

La Sierra University

  • #50 in Regional Universities West (tie)
  • #20 in Best Value Schools
  • #8 in Top Performers on Social Mobility (tie)

Pacific Union College

  • #19 in Regional Colleges West (tie)
  • #6 in Best Value Schools
  • #8 in Top Performers on Social Mobility (tie)


What the rankings mean

  • The Regional Universities West and Regional Colleges West categories rank institutions within 15 western states according to their performance across a set of widely accepted indicators of excellence.
  • A Best Value School is indicated by the best deal overall for students who want a college with high-quality programs while also relying on need-based financial aid.
  • The Social Mobility category compares graduation rates of Pell grant recipients to non-recipients. According to U.S. News and World Report, economically disadvantaged students are less likely than others to finish college, even when controlling for other characteristics. But some colleges are more successful than others at advancing social mobility by enrolling and graduating large proportions of disadvantaged students awarded with Pell Grants.

Both Pacific Union College and La Sierra University can take great pride in these rankings, and both expect to move higher in ranking within the next few years as graduation rates go up and the nation’s colleges and universities recover from the pandemic.

La Sierra University President Joy Fehr expressed immense pride. “We are so pleased to see La Sierra University’s hard work recognized in this manner,” she said. “These strong rankings reflect the underlying values and deep commitment that guide this institution as we serve our amazing students and help them achieve beyond their expectations.”

Pacific Union College President Ralph Trecartin said, "We are pleased with our recognition in the new U.S. News & World Report college rankings and the level of excellence we’ve achieved. They point to our endeavors to better serve our students and families.” 

“Being recognized as the Best Value college in California’s western region highlights our academic quality and our efforts to make college affordable,” he continued. “We’re also proud of our campus’ ethnic diversity. We want PUC to be known as a place where all of God’s people feel welcome. Ultimately we are preparing students to be positive influences wherever God may lead."

PUC ranked No.1 for Ethnic Diversity in western regional colleges. PUC Academic Dean Milbert Marino pointed out that PUC has a great history as one of the most diverse and inclusive campuses, not only among other Seventh-day Adventist institutions but nationally, too. “Diversity is in our DNA, and that makes us a stronger institution all around,” he said. “While I believe there is still work to be done, we can still celebrate this recognition.”

Adventist education, from Pre-K to graduate school, is an invaluable resource for spiritual growth, academic excellence, and preparation for a successful transition into successful careers and meaningful adulthood experiences. These rankings show that our institutions of higher education are doing just that.

Seeing our colleges and universities being recognized in this way builds trust in the realization that the Lord is leading in a tremendous way. While our educators work to enrich the minds of young people, we know that they are doing so with Christ at the forefront.

Best Colleges 2022-2023 is U.S. News and World Reports’ 38th edition since its rankings began in 1983. The rankings evaluate colleges and universities on a host of measures of academic quality. Areas include retention and graduation rates, class size, faculty, per-student spending, peer universities’ assessments, and the average federal loan debt of graduates.

According to U.S. News and World Report, these rankings provide a good starting point for students trying to compare schools. The four overall rankings—National Universities, National Liberal Arts Colleges, Regional Universities, and Regional Colleges—are based on factors that indicate academic quality, such as graduation rates and faculty resources.