Sonoma State University has recently found itself on various college rankings lists across the internet. The school ranks 20 in “party schools” on the Princeton Review, 88 in Forbes Magazine’s top colleges in the West, and 20 on Student Loan Hero’s list of places where students can work and pay their way through college. In the August issue of Forbes magazine, Sonoma State placed 88 out of 150 colleges in the nation. Out of the CSU’s, Sonoma State was ranked 12 that made the list. This list was compiled and ranked based on alumni salary, debt upon graduation, academic success, graduation rates, and opportunities that lead to successful lives and careers after college. President Judy Sakaki was proud to hear the news of recent recognition, which was publicized by the university. Sakaki became Sonoma State’s seventh president as of July 2016. Her focus for Sonoma State’s was to emphasize inclusion and opportunity for our students. She is a drive behind student and alumni opportunity and success. Sakaki expressed her gratitude on Sonoma State’s website about the school’s recent Forbes’ ranking.
“We are proud of the fact that within the past year we have been recognized by Forbes as a university that offers both a quality education and a great value,” she said. Sonoma State squeaked into the bottom of Student Loan Hero’s list ranking, at 20, where students can work their way through college. The intention of this list was to discover where students could work at least 15 hours a week and earn enough to cover their own college costs. According Student Loan Hero’s website they compromised the list by defining the local minimum wage numbers through Economic Policy Institute. They then compared the wages to average tuition and fees in over 1,500 colleges. Sonoma State and Rohnert Park had total annual and tuition fees that added up to $7,724 and an $11 minimum wage. Sonoma State’s tuition was $856 below what a student working minimum 15 hours a week would make getting paid minimum wage. Third year student Juan Carlos Munguia expressed how he was able to balance both a part time job and school full time. Munguia has worked at the Rohnert Park Raleys for the past two years, where he works an average of 16 hours a week. “Working while going to school is always a hard thing, especially with these house prices and trying to keep your grades up, but it is manageable. Rohnert Park is a college town so employers understand the struggle and do everything in their power to put school first and the job second,” Munguia said. Susan Gutierrez serves as the the Director of Financial Aid at Sonoma State University. She was happy to hear about the recognition of our low registration charges but didn’t think the article gave a balanced picture about the cost of living. She commented that, “For commuter students who aren’t moving into the area to attend SSU, the part-time job at minimum wage would probably be all that’s needed for affordability. However, most SSU students come from out of the area and need funding for room and board on top of registration charges.” The ranking that has received a lot of student attention was ranking 20 in the Princeton Review as a top college school in the country. Based on hours studied outside of class, alcohol and drug use at the school, and the popularity of Greek Life on campus. According to the Sonoma State Greek life page online 20 percent of undergraduates are involved in a Greek organization. Greek life on campus is composed of 6 Multicultural Greek Council, 12 Panhellenic sororities, and 9 Fraternities. Incoming transfer student Gia Nazarian is expecting to go through the Panhellenic Recruitment process. Originally from Southern California she comes to Sonoma State knowing very few people but has already been advised to join a sorority in order to create new friendships and have a sense of involvement with the school. From what she’s heard and researched the Greek life on campus seems to be thriving and allowing a personal connection for student. “I have talked to various students about their experiences with either fraternities or sororities and I received a lot of positive feedback. I was never once told that they regretted their decision,” Nazarian stated. Munguia, who is experiencing his second semester in Alpha Psi fraternity, said that being in a fraternity has allowed him to become more involved with the students around him and drastically improved his grades. He claims that we deserve that ranking due to the hard work that is put in by all in our Greek community, striving to boost student involvement. In his final statement Munguia said, “Sonoma State has come a very long way since my freshman year and I can’t wait to see where we can take it before I graduate.”