A new report released today ranked UC Merced as the No. 1 public university in the nation for financial aid given to first-year college students.
The "Best Colleges" report from U.S. News & World Report also listed Merced's university as No. 15 in the nation for the lowest average debt among graduates from public universities. The 13-year-old campus also charted in the top 100 public schools in the nation overall at number 87.
“UC Merced was established in part to fill a great need — to bring the best public higher education system in the world to students in an underrepresented region in the heart of California,” Chancellor Dorothy Leland said in a statement. “We measure our success by the success of our students, and these recognitions demonstrate that we are achieving that goal at a level that is all but unparalleled in the nation.”
The school, which opened its doors in 2005, also has been touted by its leaders as being among the best colleges in the nation for graduation rates and for first-generation and underrepresented students.
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UC Merced also recently was ranked the 12th-best "Hispanic-Serving Institution" in the nation. The list from College Raptor based its findings, at least in part, on graduation rates and campus diversity, school officials said.