U.S. News ranks the university 11th in nation, fourth in state

CSU Monterey Bay is one of the most racially diverse schools in its category, according to U.S. News & World Report in its 2011 edition of America's Best Colleges.

CSUMB is tied with Amherst College at No. 11 on the magazine's "diversity index" among liberal arts colleges in the United States. Those colleges award at least half of their degrees in the liberal arts fields of study, according to the magazine's definition. Approximately 265 colleges and universities are included in the liberal arts category.

The "diversity index" factors in the total proportion of minority students and the overall mix of groups. The information is drawn from each school's 2009-10 student body. The magazine's formula produces an index that ranges from 0.0 to 1.0; the closer a school's number is to 1.0, the more diverse the students. CSUMB earned a ranked of .54.

About 50 percent of the 4,200 students who were enrolled at CSUMB last spring identified themselves as white. Latino Americans made up 26 percent; Asian American, 6 percent; African Americans 4 percent; Pacific Islanders and Native Americans, 1 percent each. Others listed two or more ethnicities or declined to state.

The university ranked fourth in California, behind Whittier, Occidental and Pomona colleges.

CSUMB also ranked high in the magazine's category of economic diversity, with 39 percent of students receiving Pell grants – federal financial aid that usually goes to students with family incomes under $20,000.

And the university was among the leaders in the category of least debt owed by students. Members of the Class of 2009 who borrowed money had an average debt of $15,254.