News Briefs 7-23-2023

Written by Theresa-Marie Wilson

Theresa-Maria Wilson has been a journalist covering the North Coast and South County area for over 20 years. She is also the founder of Cat Noir CC and is currently working on a novel.

July 16, 2023

Money Magazine Ranks Poly in Top 34

Cal Poly is among the 34 top public and private universities in the nation, according to Money magazine’s 2023 Best Colleges rankings. 

The personal finance website — which reports on mortgages, loans, credit, investing, and more — analyzed dozens of data points, including graduation rates, cost of attendance, financial aid and alumni salaries, to find colleges that combine quality and affordability. 

Money redesigned its rankings system this year, abandoning numbered listings in favor of a star-tiered system — setting its list apart from other publications. The magazine used six rankings — from 2.5 to 5 stars — to identify the 736 schools “where your tuition (and time) is likely to pay off.” 

Cal Poly achieved the 5-star rating along with 33 other schools across the U.S., including such Ivy League universities as Harvard, Princeton, Yale and Columbia. Cal Poly was among seven top California schools — and the only California State University campus — to receive 5-star recognition. The others are California Institute of Technology and Stanford University, both private research institutions, and four University of California campuses: Berkeley, Irvine, Los Angeles and San Diego. 

More than 90% of Cal Poly graduates are working full time or in graduate schools within a year. Students go on to earn median salaries of just over $85,000 in their early careers, a premium over similar schools, according to Money’s analysis. 

Rankings were released in late June. There is no single “best college” topping Money’s new list, which addresses how worried students are about tuition prices and getting their money’s worth. 

“Everybody’s interested in the ROI on their education, because college education is very expensive,” said Sue Harbour, associate dean and executive director of the career center at the UC Berkeley, according to Money. “People want to know: Is it worth my time and my money?” 

The magazine’s methodology is based on 26 factors in three categories: quality of education (30 percent), affordability (40 percent) and outcomes (30 percent), with 15 subcategories.

 The new system recognizes that there are numerous ways for a school to provide value, with multiple “best” colleges, depending on a student’s goals and priorities. Moreover, it encourages students and families to look beyond the most sought-after big-name institutions of higher learning and deeper on the list, as there are many colleges where tuition dollars will pay off. 

Cal Poly is also included on five of what Money calls its Popular Rankings, six categories that include top public schools, regional (West, South, Northeast and Midwest) schools and best acceptance rates. 

To see the full Money rankings, go to: 

EPA Recognizes SLO County for Leading Green Power Use

The County of San Luis Obispo has met the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s rigorous requirements to become a member of its Green Power Partnership. 

The Green Power Partnership is a voluntary federal program recognizing organizations that demonstrate leadership in green power, growing the American market for green power and reducing air pollution and other environmental impacts associated with electricity use. 

The County is using nearly 5 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power annually, which is enough to meet 19 percent of the organization’s electricity use. According to the EPA, the County’s green power use is equivalent to the electricity use of nearly 500 average American homes annually.

“This is a fantastic honor, and we are proud to be recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,” said Annie Secrest, County Public Works’ Energy & Water coordinator. “Using green power helps our organization stabilize rising energy costs and lowers our emissions footprint, while also sending a message to others across the country that green power is an affordable, accessible choice.”

By moving the needle in the voluntary green power market, the County of San Luis Obispo and other partners are helping reduce the negative health impacts of air emissions including those related to ozone, fine particles, acid rain, and regional haze.

The County is also active in ensuring energy conservation, energy efficiency, and energy resilience remain top priorities for its facilities and infrastructure. Numerous energy efficiency projects have been implemented and are underway. The County, in coordination with the Department of Energy, is in the early stages of an energy management campaign at small facilities, and recently energized three battery energy storage projects, with two more projects in design. 

Trolly Returns to Downtown SLO

The City of San Luis Obispo announced the return of the Old SLO Trolley running through September 7. On Thursdays from 5 to 9 p.m., the Old SLO Trolley will make its way down Monterey Street, loop downtown, then run back up Monterey Street every 20 minutes.

“We are thrilled to see the return of the Old SLO Trolley Service. This summer, getting around downtown San Luis Obispo will be even easier on Thursday evenings,” said Jennifer Rice, City Public Works Deputy Director of Mobility Services. “We encourage community members to hop on, explore, and appreciate all that our downtown has to offer.”

For just 50 cents (or 25 cents for seniors or disabled riders), the Old SLO Trolley covers the heart of Downtown SLO and its surrounding hotel areas. The Old SLO Trolley offers passengers a convenient, car-free form of public transit and is perfect for traveling to and from Downtown for dinner and shopping, even Thursday Evening Farmers’ Market. All trolleys are accessible to all and equipped with air conditioning, so riders can travel in comfort.

The trolley will make the following stops:

• La Cuesta Inn •  Monterey at Grand • Monterey at Grove • Monterey at California • Monterey at Toro • Monterey at Osos • Nipomo at Higuera • Marsh at Broad • Marsh at Chorro • Marsh at Osos • Santa Rosa at Higuera • Peach Tree Inn

For more information on the trolley service routes and schedules, go to or call at (805) 541-2877.

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