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Joseph Castro

Fresno State President Joseph I. Castro at one of the university's commencement ceremonies.

The school year has just begun and, for many high school seniors, that means thinking of which college they will be attending next year.

Many local students opt to attend California State University, Fresno, which was just ranked 17th among the top universities in the nation by Washington Monthly. The ranking was based on academic excellence and economic opportunity.

Fresno State moved up eight spots up from last year and Washington Monthly cited the school as having “stellar graduation rates relative to other colleges with a similar admissions profile.” The magazine also said Fresno State’s “net price of attendance," what students pay after scholarships are deducted from tuition, is "among the very lowest nationwide.”

“Fresno State is proud to represent the California State University system in the top 30,” said University President Joseph I. Castro.

Fresno State’s continued ascent up the national rankings is a testament to the hard work of students, faculty and staff on campus who are dedicated to improving graduation rates and increasing prosperity in the Central Valley and beyond, Castro said.

Enrollment at Fresno State this fall is nearly 25,000 students, with more than 80 percent of those students from the Central Valley.

According to Fresno State data, about 100 students from Hanford attended the college in the fall of 2016. Forty-point-nine percent of students from Kings County were enrolled in post-secondary institutions for the school year of 2016-17, according to the California Department of Education.

At the end of spring 2017, Hanford High School had 23 final transcripts sent to Fresno State, Hanford West High School had 18 and Sierra Pacific had 20. Transcripts are needed for acceptance to Fresno State.

It’s not yet certain how many students will be accepted or enrolled next year at Fresno State, but currently 42 percent of Hanford High students have already completed all courses required for UC and/or CSU entrance, with 43 percent from Hanford West and 39 percent from Sierra Pacific.

Director of Educational Services for the Hanford Joint Unified School District Bobby Peters said the district has recently adopted raising the requirements for the number of science and math classes needed to graduate.

Students are now required to take three years of math and three years of science, when it used to be only two years of math.

The sophomores attending high school this year will be the first graduating class from the Hanford Joint Unified School District to graduate with these new changes.

Peters also acknowledges that it is not the application process but the transition to college that is the hardest for students.

“The application process is laborious, but the hardest part for many students is the transition," Peters said. "When you get there it’s a huge cultural transition even if it’s just Fresno.”

In the rankings by Washington Monthly, Fresno State was selected alongside six Ivy League institutions and six University of California campuses, along with MIT and the top-ranked Stanford University.

“These national rankings are further proof that Fresno State’s commitment to boldly educate and empower our students for success is taking the university’s academic profile to new heights,” Castro said. “Our faculty and staff are supporting and engaging students in exciting new ways, and the university is working as one with the community to develop partnerships that can be transformational for our region, where more than 80 percent of our alumni choose to stay and work.”

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