"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:
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 www.socialmobilityindex.org.