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ASU named a top university for community, national service

Washington Monthly rankings put ASU ahead of Duke, UNC-Chapel Hill and Johns Hopkins

man pointing at home designs on a sheet of paper
October 10, 2022

Washington Monthly announced Arizona State University as a top 10 university in the country for its dedication to community and national service, outranking Duke, UNC-Chapel Hill and Johns Hopkins.

For overall rankings, ASU comes in at No. 50 – ahead of more than 1,500 public, private, nonprofit and for-profit colleges nationwide.

Compiled from the U.S. Department of Education’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) enrollment and Pell Grant recipient data, the annual report ranks liberal arts colleges and four-year institutions based on their contribution to the public good in three equally-weighted categories: social mobility, research and promoting public service.

ASU ranks No. 9 in the country for community service, and Cindy Parnell, chief of public service for Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions, said this honor is a true example of the university's service-first charter. 

“This is a recognition for the entire ASU community and the partners we work with,” she said. “It gives an amazing credit to our students, faculty and our staff.” 

In her role, Parnell leads the Public Service Academy, which is a character-driven leadership program designed to connect students across public, private and nonprofit sectors to solve some of the world’s biggest challenges — including education, national security, health care, socioeconomic disparity, hunger and homelessness. Parnell added that this type of interdisciplinary learning program makes the Public Service Academy one of the first programs of its kind. 

“(ASU) President (Michael) Crow and the university made this program a priority because of our commitment to the community and to developing these types of leaders,” she said. “It's the only place that existed until now and it is expanding. There are 14 other universities that are now picking up this model and starting their own.” 

ASU’s Washington Monthly service score also represents the university's commitment to AmeriCorps and Peace Corps students. This score accounts for students who received a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award, which may be used by AmeriCorps participants to repay qualified student loans and to cover current educational expenses. 

Kimberly L. Baldwin is program director of the Next Generation Service Corps, which is part of the Public Service Academy within Watts College. She said that access to quality education is just one of the key components this group of student leaders focus on improving for next generations.

“Our students care about the community and are passionate about very complex social issues, and we don't specify which ones they have to focus on as part of NGSC,” she said “It could be anything: climate change, veterans, health care, homelessness — whatever issue they are passionate about, they want to impact change in a positive way.”

The study also measured college’s affordability for students from lower- to middle-income familiesAverage net prices paid by first-time, full-time, in-state students with annual family incomes below $75,000.. ASU’s average price of attendance for students in this category is $9,652. 

Finally, the service score accounted for the size of each college’s Air Force, Army and Navy ROTC programs, and the percentage of federal work-study grant money spent on community service projects based on data provided by the Corporation for National and Community Service. 

Baldwin is proud that students dedicated to local, national and global service are being recognized.

“This ranking really does show ASU’s commitment to public service and scaling that mission across the university,” she said. 

View Washington Monthly’s full data set and ranking methodology.

Top photo: AmeriCorps member Skyler Anselmo discusses customizable housing designs, for the Gila River Indian Community, in a collaboration between members of the community and ASU graduate students in 2018. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU News

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