WASHINGTON (CBSLA.com) — The list celebrates colleges that promote civic engagement and teach students at a relatively lost cost.

The Washington Monthly has released its annual college rankings of the “best schools for our country” and say four of the top five are in the Golden State.

The list also commends the country’s most innovative college presidents.

Unlike other rankings, which focus on prestige rather than what the study called “real impact”, Washington Monthly highlights the schools that encourage social mobility and promote public service.

It also lists “Best Bang for the Buck” colleges that combine low tuition rates with high graduation rates.

Washington Monthly says, “Higher education excellence looks very different when measured by [our] yardstick.”

University of California — San Diego ranks No. 1 on this year’s national list for the sixth consecutive year. Institutions in the University of California system grabbed three more of the top 5 slots on the “America’s Best Colleges” list.

Sixteen schools across California made the top 30 in their respective categories including – Stanford University; Harvey Mudd College; Pomona College; University of California – San Diego, Riverside, Berkeley, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and Davis; California State University – Fresno, Los Angeles, Dominguez Hills, Fullerton and Stanislaus; Mills College, and Humboldt State University.

University of California system institutions make up four of the five top ranked schools for enrolling and graduating low-income students including University of California – Santa Cruz, Irvine, Santa Barbara and Riverside.

For the complete survey, click here.

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