By Yasmin Anwar, media relations | September 8, 2021 September 18, 2021

Berkeley ranks first in Forbes’ rankings for accessibility and affordability, along with other indicators of success. (UC Berkeley photo by Keegan Houser)

For the first time, UC Berkeley took first place on Forbes magazine’s annual list of top American colleges, beating several elite private universities, including Yale in second place and Princeton up Third place.

Rounding out the Forbes Top 10 for 2021 is Stanford in fourth place, followed by Columbia, MIT, Harvard, UCLA, the University of Pennsylvania and Northwestern University.

First public University that won the Forbes top ranking – if you count West Point, a military academy that took the top spot in 2009 – Berkeley was known for its affordability, excellence, and “rich tradition of leading technological and social change.”

Among the other UC locations that make the top 50, UCLA came in eighth, followed by UC San Diego (15th), UC Davis (20th), UC Santa Barbara (39th) and UC Irvine ( 47.).

In view of the COV ID-19 Pandemic, Forbes suspended its ranking of the best American colleges in 2020 and revised its methodology by taking a closer look at accessibility and affordability.

With 27% of UC Berkeley students receiving state Pell grants awarded to economically disadvantaged students, the UC flagship campus took first place. The magazine found that Harvard’s percentage of students receiving Pell Scholarships is 12%.

In addition to each university’s percentage of Pell Scholars, Forbes rated 600 four-year higher education institutions based on metrics such as average annual student costs , Consideration of tuition, scholarships, and grants.

Other indicators of success that were reviewed for the Forbes ranking included alumni salaries, post-graduation debt, retention and graduation rates, and academic and professional awards and honors. < Forbes calculated the average UC Berkeley scholarship amount at $ 19,126, the average student debt at $ 6,000, and the average graduate starting salary at $ 138,800.