The proposed flag for the proposed Southern Oregon – Northern California hybrid state Jefferson.
RankInstitutionChange from 2020ForbesTHEUSNWR Regional UniversitiesUSNWR Regional CollegesRelevant Averages
🥇California State University, Chico15133339242
🥈Humboldt State University476501=30488.5
🥉California State University, StanislausNA354=30192
4Southern Oregon University51967293
5Oregon Institute of Technology-3*29210NA
6Simpson University-1*NR88NA
7Weimar UniversityNANRNA
Figure 1. Ranking of Universities in the proposed U.S. state comprising portions of southern Oregon and northern California — the State of Jefferson — for 2021-2022.

This is a ranking of universities in the U.S. proposed-state the State of Jefferson for the year 2021-2022. 

.A brief explanation about what constitutes the “State of Jefferson”. The State of Jefferson is a proposed U.S. state that includes northern and central portions of the U.S. state of California and southern portions of the U.S. state of Oregon. If you really want to read about how its proposition came about, Wikipedia is willing to let you do so. I’ll just say the “movement” goes back to 1941, the proposed capital is Yreka, CA… and the state would include 7 universities, as far as I can tell. Drawing the state boundaries is tricky because Jefferson isn’t a state, and people have changed their minds over time about what exactly is or isn’t or should or shouldn’t be included. I have included a map of my interpretation below, at the end of this article (Figure 2.). I took the broadest interpretation of the boundaries (which have changed since last year!), then, I looked for universities in these counties and came up with 7 legitimate universities. There were some other question marks. There are also, of course, many community colleges in Jefferson, but this is a university ranking, and thus, those were excluded. If I have missed a university in this region please let me know and I will update the list once I determine its placement (email:

The way I decided to rank these universities differs from the usual methodology due to their uneven distribution across various rankings. In the end, the primary determining factor for a university was more a matter of which rankings it appeared on at all. A university’s ranking placement on a given ranking was used more for tie-breaker situations. Thus, many columns look like a bit of a mess. To create the ranking, I drew on the Forbes ranking of U.S. universities, the THE ranking of U.S. universities, and both the USNWR regional university and regional college rankings.

First, I determined ranking placement across all lists for each university listed. I decided that those ranked on the two broader U.S. rankings — the Forbes and THE rankings — would take precedence over universities which did not appear on those rankings. The justification for this move comes from the fact that those two rankings include all U.S. universities, whereas the other ones are merely regional rankings (a university appearing on a national ranking is presumably more substantial than one not appearing on such a ranking). There were only two universities appearing on both the Forbes and THE ranking — Chico State and Humboldt State– so their ranking placements were averaged across those two rankings such that they could be ranked relative to each other. Both universities happened to also be ranked in the USNWR regional universities ranking, and thus their ranking placements on that list are shown as well, but not factored into their averages. Next, universities which appeared on either the Forbes or the THE were considered. No other university which appears on the Forbes ranking also appears on the THE ranking, so the next consideration was the ranking placements on regional lists. I decided to rank those universities on the regional university list higher than those on the regional college list, since the former list includes universities which are broader in scope. Thus, the average was taken between the Forbes placement and the USNWR regional university list to determine relative placement among the relevant universities. Next, the sole university which was ranked on Forbes but not on the regional university list, rather, the regional college list — Oregon Tech — was ranked below those appearing on the Forbes list and the regional university list. It’s average was, thus, irrelevant. Next, there were two universities which appeared on neither the Forbes nor the THE list. However, one of them, Simpson University, appeared on the regional university list, and was thus ranked above the other university, Weimar University — which did not appear on any list and, thus, ranks last.

To some up the order of precedence in terms of (abbreviated with explanation for brevity) steps:

  1. Is the university on Forbes and THE?
  2. If yes, what is its average? Relative to the other universities in this category, this is its rank.
  3. If no, is it on either list? (In this case, whenever the answer was “yes”, that list was Forbes.)
  4. For those on the Forbes ranking, are they on the regional university ranking?
  5. If yes, take the averages and this will determine the ranks among all universities in this category.
  6. If no, are they on the regional college ranking? (In this case, only one was.)
  7. If yes, their rank is now determined.
  8. If it is on neither Forbes nor THE, is it on the regional university ranking? (In this case, only one was.)
  9. If yes, its rank is now determined.
  10. The final university was unranked completely, thus determining its place as last.

This is how I determined the rank of each university. Other methodologies would be acceptable, but I think this one holds up…convoluted as it might seem at first. Another point in favor of this methodology (besides those I described already) is that the outcome looks very similar to the 2020 list, and falls where you would expect (the CSUs taking up the top spots).

The overall results were tabled, and are shown below (Table 1.). The leftmost column shows the final rank, the “institution” column shows the institution ranked, the change column shows the university position “change “from 2020. The next four rightward columns show the ranking placements for the given lists. The “relevant averages” column shows the averages given the relevant rankings (so, not the average across all rankings the university might appear on, if those ranking placements were not factored in in accordance with the criteria I outlined above). Note that here ‘NA’ means “not applicable” and ‘NR’ means “not ranked”. The ❌ symbol simply shows that the university in question doesn’t appear on the list in question (and also fits quite harmoniously with the Jefferson seal!).

* There is further explanation to be given for Oregon Tech’s and Simpson’s apparent drops in the rankings. Due to the expanded notion of Jefferson upon which this year’s ranking was based (and as seen in the map below), CSU Stanislaus debuts on the rankings. It ranks higher than Oregon Tech and Simpson this year, which resulted in both Oregon Tech and Simpson moving down 1 position further than they naturally would. Thus, in the “change” column, their movement downward is artificially inflated compared to last year. Simpson falls — relative to the universities ranked last year — in the same spot as it did last year. Meanwhile, Oregon Tech has indeed moved downward, but only 2 spots relative to the universities ranked last year, rather than 3. Thus, this clarification.

A separate, final question: what would these universities be called in the State of Jefferson? Perhaps the obvious: Jefferson State University, Chico, Jefferson Institute of Technology, etc. And Southern Oregon University would “move” northward to become Northern Jefferson University!

Figure 2. The U.S. proposed-state, the State of Jefferson, within the context of the U.S. This map includes counties variously assigned as part of the proposed state between the years 1941 and 2021.

If you should find anything to be in error, please contact me at


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