PSU earns top U.S. News rankings for innovation, social mobility and service learning

Students walking on  Portland State campus near Broadway.

U.S. News & World Report has ranked Portland State University among the nation’s top universities for its innovative strategies that help students succeed. 

The 2022 Best Colleges guide recognizes PSU as the best national university in Oregon for Social Mobility and Service Learning, as well as Oregon’s Most Innovative campus. 

The new ratings reflect PSU’s commitment to transforming the lives of students with meaningful learning experiences in Portland and beyond, said PSU President Stephen Percy. 

”These rankings speak to the core of everything we do and why we do it,” he said. “We are always looking for new ways to serve our students and our city, and that has never been more true than during the COVID-19 pandemic.” 

As PSU switched to fully remote education in 2020, it created new flexible, online options to meet students where they are. For instance, students can now enroll in some courses that allow them to Attend Anywhere, a new format that offers remote access to in-person classes. 

The university also created the new Summer Bridge Scholars Program, a free, four-week introduction to college life and academics for more than 200 students whose high school education was disrupted by COVID-19. Summer Bridge gives them effective learning skills, a strong foundation in college-level math and writing, and peer mentors to help them make connections and succeed.

PSU expanded its innovative Four Years Free and Transfers Finish Free programs to cover the tuition and fees for more Oregon students. This kind of financial support helps economically disadvantaged students who receive Pell Grants graduate from PSU, the key measure behind the U.S. News Social Mobility ranking. PSU ranked No. 51 nationally out of 391 schools on that list. 

Portland State also tied with Stanford University at No. 7 on the list of top schools for Service Learning.

PSU students are required to complete community service projects as part of their coursework, with about 4,000 students volunteering in about 200 service-learning courses each year. PSU has the nation’s largest Senior Capstone program, the final step in PSU’s nationally-recognized University Studies curriculum

Capstone students volunteer at The PSU Landing at First United Methodist Church, new emergency housing for PSU students, help incarcerated women at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility, and advance racial equity with the Urban League. 

“We are doing all we can to ensure the success of our students and engage with our community to help it emerge from the pandemic stronger than ever,” Percy said. “I’m tremendously proud of our hard work and progress.”