CUNY - The City University of New York

12/13/2016 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 12/13/2016 12:17

CUNY Graduates Lead Nation in 2016 Social Mobility Index

The City University of New York leads the nation's four-year colleges in helping students grab the American dream of moving up the social ladder and landing good-paying, high-quality jobs, according to the 2016 Social Mobility Index.

Three CUNY colleges are among the top 10 in the country in enrolling low-income students and graduating them into solid careers. Six more CUNY baccalaureate colleges are in the top 10 percent of the 918 U.S. colleges included in the study.

The Social Mobility Index 'differs from most other rankings in that it focuses directly and broadly on the problem of economic mobility,' its website explains. 'To what extent does a college or university educate more economically disadvantaged people (family incomes below the national median) at lower tuition so that they graduate into good paying jobs? The colleges that do the best at this rank higher.… Gone is any quixotic pretense of 'best' college based on arbitrary or irrelevant popularity criteria such as percentage of applicants denied.'

The index was created by CollegeNET, a company that provides Web-based services to some 1,300 higher education and nonprofit institutions around the world. The index did not consider CUNY in its first rankings in 2014, but in 2015 placed six of them from first to 31 among 931 colleges.

Chancellor James B. Milliken said: 'The Social Mobility Index underlines the historical role that CUNY's affordable, high-quality education has long played in moving New York City students into the middle class. It is very much in line with other external rankings that have highlighted both our academics and the minimal debt that CUNY students incur. Eight in 10 CUNY students graduate without any federal education loans, and many who do incurred their debt at other colleges before transferring into CUNY.'

For the second year in a row, Baruch College led the national Social Mobility Index, with City College in 9 place and Queens College in 10 place. Rounding out CUNY's roster of colleges that deliver the greatest boost up the social ladder are the College of Staten Island (16), Hunter College (19), Brooklyn College (24), Lehman College (65) and John Jay College of Criminal Justice (86).

It's important to note that all CUNY baccalaureate colleges charge the same low tuition. However, other variables factor in the rankings, including median early-career salary - and that often reflects the career choices that undergraduates make in choosing particular colleges that specialize in particular majors. For example, graduates of business-oriented Baruch may be more likely to earn higher salaries than those of public-service-oriented John Jay.

Besides salary, the index factors in tuition (the higher the tuition, the lower the ranking), endowment (larger endowments lower scores because they imply an untapped capacity to do more for students), the economic background of students and their graduation rate.

Because 'tuition and economic background are the most critical front end determinants for access,' the Social Mobility Index explains, they get the greatest weight in calculating the rankings. 'They are also the two variables over which policy makers have almost 100 percent, decisive control…. Simply put, a school can most dramatically move itself upwards in the SMI rankings by lowering its tuition or increasing its percentage of economically disadvantaged students (or both).'

The City University of New York is the nation's leading urban public university. Founded in New York City in 1847, the University comprises 24 institutions: 11 senior colleges, seven community colleges, the William E. Macaulay Honors College at CUNY, the CUNY School of Medicine, the CUNY Graduate School and University Center, the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, the CUNY School of Law, the CUNY School of Professional Studies and the CUNY School of Public Health and Health Policy. The University serves more than 274,350 degree-seeking students and 260,000 adult and continuing education students. College Now, the University's academic enrichment program, is offered at CUNY campuses and more than 300 high schools throughout the five boroughs of New York City. The University offers online baccalaureate and master's degrees through the School of Professional Studies.