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Aggie Power: Texas A&M takes fourth in national college rankings, breaking a California stranglehold

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Texas A&M University ranked fourth on Washington Monthly's list of schools that focus on enrolling low-income students. Photo via VisitAggieLand.com
University of Texas at El Paso, UTEP
The University of Texas-El Paso came in eighth on the list and received nods for its commitment to public service and research. University of Texas at El Paso/Facebook
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University of Texas at El Paso, UTEP
Austin photo: Event_Veterans Parade_Soldiers

Two Texas universities are getting high marks from Washington Monthly magazine for enrolling low-income students, and encouraging academic research and public service. Texas A&M University and the University of Texas-El Paso both made the Top 10 on a list otherwise dominated by California schools.

The schools ranked fourth and eighth respectively, representing two very different geographic locations, but both with the same goals. To qualify for the list, magazine editors looked at social mobility, or the way schools recruit and then follow a low-income student through to graduation.

 To qualify for the list, magazine editors looked at social mobility, or the way schools recruit and then follow a low-income student through to graduation. 

The rankings also take the number of “cutting-edge scholarship and PhDs” into consideration. Service is the third criteria for inclusion on the list, and can range from joining the Peace Corp. to serving in the military.

Texas A&M’s provost and executive vice president for academic affairs Karan Watson said in a press release it’s rewarding to see the school recognized for its hard work.

“I am proud of our efforts, which remind students that Aggies Commit to Learning for a Lifetime and our faculty continue to excel in our complete mission of teaching, research and service to our community, state and nation,” Watson said.

UTEP’s close location to the United States/Mexico border gives the school a unique educational opportunity, and one the university believes is crucial to attain the American Dream.

“We have stayed true to our mission of access, affordability and excellence, and we are energized by our transformational role in the lives of our graduates and their families, and in the human and economic development of the U.S.-Mexico border region we serve,” UTEP president Diana Natalicio said. 

A key differentiator between the Washington Monthly list and other respected publication’s rankings is how the editors view student applications. Rather than reward the schools that deny the most applications, the magazine gives kudos to universities that positively contribute to society and seek to enroll low-income students.

West Coast schools ruled the Washington Monthly rankings, with the University of California-San Diego nabbing the number one spot, followed by University of California-Riverside and the University of California-Berkley. Texas A&M breaks up the California run with its fourth place ranking. The University of California-Los Angeles comes in fifth.

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