A Money magazine analysis of more than 600 U.S. colleges and universities considers dozens of data points, rating institutions on quality of instruction, affordability, and student outcomes.  In the West, Cal Maritime ranks as 8th and in the company of top-rated Stanford, followed by UCLA, Pomona College, UC Berkeley, UC Irvine, UC Davis, and UC San Diego. Nationally, Cal Maritime is ranked 15 on Money’s 2022 value list. 
“Cal Maritime students graduate ready to hit the high seas,” the magazine reports. “That’s partly due to the school’s annual training program, in which students live and work aboard a 500-foot ship, the Golden Bear, following an itinerary that might take them through the Panama Canal or across the Atlantic Ocean to Europe.” 
Hands-on learning, and “rigorous curriculum offerings” in seven degree programs, give graduates “the skills and experience to sail smoothly into the job force,” the article continues. Early-career graduates earn salaries of $91,460, Money reports, 85 percent more than high school graduates. Further, Cal Maritime students graduate in 4.2 years, faster than the average six-year graduation rate for first-time, full-time students, according to the U.S. Department of Education.  Cal Maritime cadets in formation.

“With small class sizes, and a first-rate faculty, blending classroom learning with applied technology, Cal Maritime graduates enter a workforce poised to engage and lead in a global community,” says President Tom Cropper. “For those of us who live and breathe the institution, especially our talented and committed cadets and alumni, Cal Maritime’s quality and dedication to excellence – and our value, both financially and to the world at large – was never a secret.” 
While the cost of attending Cal Maritime hovers near $29,000 in 2022-23, the estimated price for the 56 percent of students who receive financial aid is $22,200. The average price for low-income students is $13,470. 
Money highlights the institution’s new oceanography degree, which “fits in well with the school’s maritime theme and waterfront campus.” Further, small class sizes help “to foster a sense of community and close interactions with professors.” The academy also boasts one of the highest job placement rates within the California State University system. 
Cal Maritime is one of seven degree-granting maritime institutions in the United States, and the only one on the West Coast. Among that group, Money ranks the academy No. 2, behind Massachusetts Maritime Academy. (The Massachusetts campus ranked No. 4 on the national list. Maine Maritime Academy, ranked No. 16, accounted for the third maritime campus in the top 20.) A companion article entitled Why Maritime Academies Rank High in Money’s Best Colleges’ List dives into the attributes of maritime academies.   

The Money rankings were compiled amidst ongoing concerns about the cost of a higher education. A recent survey from the University of Chicago show that three-quarters of Americans view the high price of college as the biggest barrier to earning a degree.  
In developing its rankings, Money considered quality and affordability among schools that admit at least 20 percent of applicants.

Established in 1929, California State University Maritime Academy is the only degree-granting maritime academy on the West Coast. Located in Vallejo, California, the campus serves nearly 1,000 students and offers undergraduate degrees preparing students for careers in engineering, transportation, international relations, business, and global logistics. The new oceanography degree program launched in the fall of 2020. Cal Maritime also offers a master’s degree in Transportation and Engineering Management, as well as a number of extended learning programs and courses.