Monday, December 19, 2016

Bernard M. Baruch College, Rowan University and Several Others Maintain Top Rankings, despite Declining Economic Opportunities in U.S. Higher Education

The 2016 Social Mobility Index (SMI) – a measurement of US higher education’s commitment to growing success and opportunity for economically disadvantaged students – has identified several consistently high-ranking institutions, based on their success at admitting economically disadvantaged students and ensuring their graduation and transition to well-paying jobs. Institutions that have remained at or near the top since the SMI began analyzing data in 2014 include CUNY Bernard M. Baruch College, which ranked number-one in 2015 and 2016, and Rowan University in New Jersey, the only institution to be ranked in one of the top three slots all three years.

"We have a campus-wide ethos related to quality, access, affordability and serving as a regional economic engine," says Dr. Rory McElwee, Associate Vice President for Student Retention at Rowan University. "These are our four strategic pillars, and they reinforce our student success mindset. We don’t have a sink-or-swim mentality. And we have many support structures in place so students can reach their full potential. We understand the impact that higher education can have when it comes to social mobility."

While many institutions either made no SMI gains or slipped in rankings over three years, others showed marked improvement. Webster University in Missouri, North Carolina A&T State University and Granite State College in New Hampshire all showed significant gains in economic inclusion.

Among other notable findings were that almost every one of the top 60 SMI slots is occupied by a public institution; the California state system represents nearly 50 percent of the top 20 rankings over the past three years; and the New York state system holds about 20 percent of the top slots.

The SMI ranks schools according to five variables:
Published tuition
Percentage of student body from families below the US median income
Graduation rate of low-income students
Reported salary after graduation for low-income students

For more information about the SMI and the 2016 SMI rankings, visit