top_colleges_americas_economy
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Top 40 Colleges Advancing America’s Economic Progress

Higher education is a driving force behind every facet of America’s economy. The increasing gap in America’s wealth distribution is causing difficulty for low-income persons to obtain higher education.  Indeed, making it easier and more affordable for low-income students to attend college has long been a vehicle for upward social mobility [1].

Recent studies have shown that, “Without a college degree, a child born into a family has little chance of breaking into the upper end of the income distribution.[2]” Beyond the increase in mobility, attainment in higher education has a great tendency to invigorate economic prosperity.

A few colleges in the U.S. are striving to offer greater opportunity for lower-income Americans to increase their social mobility. Each student is responsible for their own pursuit of employment and prosperity but the following institutions are working to solve the problem of economic divergence in our country.

The ESMI below represents the SMI of 100 being the highest possible score.

A school can move itself upwards in the rankings by decreasing tuition and/or increasing the percentage of economically disadvantaged students attending the school (student’s whose family incomes are less than or equal to the national median – $48,000.)

Top Colleges Advancing America's Economy

#1 - Montana Tech (University of Montana)

montana_tech_university_of_montana

Butte, MT

ESMI 100

Tuition

$6,464

Median Early Career Salary

$68,400

Low Income Students

31.3%

Graduation Rate

50.8%

#2 - Rowan University

rowan_university

Glassboro, NJ

ESMI 88

Tuition

$12,380

Median Early Career Salary

$43,500

Low Income Students

70.7%

Graduation Rate

70.0%

#3 - Florida A&M University

Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University

Tallahassee, FL

ESMI 78

Tuition

$5,785

Median Early Career Salary

$43,600

Low Income Students

91.7%

Graduation Rate

40.6%

#4 - California State Polytechnic University (Pomona)

cal_poly_bronco_center

Pomona, CA

ESMI 72

Tuition

$6,350

Median Early Career Salary

$50,500

Low Income Students

36.03%

Graduation Rate

56.6%

#5 - California State University (Northridge)

csu_northridge

Northridge, CA

ESMI 69

Tuition

$6,525

Median Early Career Salary

$43,700

Low Income Students

64.59%

Graduation Rate

47.9%

#6 - University of California (Davis)

UC_Davis

Davis, CA

ESMI 69

Tuition

$13,895

Median Early Career Salary

$50,800

Low Income Students

30.66%

Graduation Rate

82.3%

#7 - Florida International University

Florida International University

Miami, FL

ESMI 64

Tuition

$6,496

Median Early Career Salary

$43,000

Low Income Students

64.18%

Graduation Rate

45.8%

#8 - University of California (Riverside)

University of California-Riverside

Miami, FL

ESMI 61

Tuition

$12,960

Median Early Career Salary

$45,600

Low Income Students

42.98%

Graduation Rate

68.1%

#9 - University of California (Berkeley)

uc_berkely_california

Berkeley, CA

ESMI 61

Tuition

$12,864

Median Early Career Salary

$59,500

Low Income Students

18.79%

Graduation Rate

91.1%

#10 - California State University (Stanislaus)

csu_stanislaus

Turlock, CA

ESMI 60

Tuition

$6,491

Median Early Career Salary

$43,000

Low Income Students

51.76%

Graduation Rate

49.5%

#11 - Western Connecticut State University

Western Connecticut State University

Danbury, CT

ESMI 60

Tuition

$8,893

Median Early Career Salary

$43,300

Low Income Students

75.78%

Graduation Rate

44.1%

#12 - Stony Brook University

Stony Brook University

Stony Brook, NY

ESMI 60

Tuition

$7,995

Median Early Career Salary

$49,800

Low Income Students

26.61%

Graduation Rate

64.8%

#13 - North Carolina A & T State University

north carolina a&t state university

Greensboro, NC

ESMI 59

Tuition

$5,422

Median Early Career Salary

$48,300

Low Income Students

52.14%

Graduation Rate

38.3%

#14 - Winston-Salem State University

Winston-Salem-State-University

Winston-Salem, NC

ESMI 57

Tuition

$5,468

Median Early Career Salary

$43,300

Low Income Students

71.97%

Graduation Rate

35.6%

#15 - California State University (Fresno)

California State University-Fresno

Fresno, CA

ESMI 57

Tuition

$6,287

Median Early Career Salary

$42,200

Low Income Students

46.38%

Graduation Rate

50.6%

#16 - University of California (Los Angeles)

UCLA

Los Angeles, CA

ESMI 56

Tuition

$12,697

Median Early Career Salary

$50,300

Low Income Students

25.77%

Graduation Rate

89.8%

#17 - University of California (Santa Barbara)

ucsb_campus

Santa Barbara, CA

ESMI 56

Tuition

$13,746

Median Early Career Salary

$47,000

Low Income Students

27.53%

Graduation Rate

79.4%

#18 - SUNY at Albany

suny_albany_campus

Albany, NY

ESMI 56

Tuition

$8,040

Median Early Career Salary

$46,000

Low Income Students

26.87%

Graduation Rate

66.8%

#19 - California State University (Long Beach)

California State University, Long Beach

Long Beach, CA

ESMI 54

Tuition

$6,240

Median Early Career Salary

$43,600

Low Income Students

35.22%

Graduation Rate

54%

#20 - California State University (Bakersfield)

Walter_Stiern_Library,_CSUB

Bakersfield, CA

ESMI 54

Tuition

$6,775

Median Early Career Salary

$44,100

Low Income Students

52.94%

Graduation Rate

43%

#21 - University of Idaho

university_of_idaho

Moscow, ID

ESMI 54

Tuition

$6,524

Median Early Career Salary

$46,700

Low Income Students

29.52%

Graduation Rate

55.1%

#22 - Notre Dame of Maryland University

notre_dame

Baltimore, MD

ESMI 53

Tuition

$32,050

Median Early Career Salary

$51,000

Low Income Students

51.92%

Graduation Rate

63.8%

#23 - University of Portland

University of Portland

Portland, OR

EDSMI 52

Tuition

$38,670

Median Early Career Salary

$48,800

Low Income Students

47.66%

Graduation Rate

76.6%

#24 - San Francisco State University

sfsu_campus

San Francisco, CA

ESMI 51

Tuition

$6,450

Median Early Career Salary

$47,100

Low Income Students

32.89%

Graduation Rate

48%

#25 - Howard University

howard university washington DC

Washington, DC

ESMI 51

Tuition

$22,683

Median Early Career Salary

$49,300

Low Income Students

43.47%

Graduation Rate

69.1%

#26 - Western Kentucky University

WKU_campus

Bowling Green, KY

ESMI 51

Tuition

$8,722

Median Early Career Salary

$40,300

Low Income Students

54.7%

Graduation Rate

48.7%

#27 - Western Illinois University

western_illinois_university

Macomb, IL

ESMI 51

Tuition

$11,767

Median Early Career Salary

$42,000

Low Income Students

45.1%

Graduation Rate

58%

#28 - San Diego State University

San Diego State University

San Diego, CA

ESMI 51

Tuition

$6,766

Median Early Career Salary

$45,700

Low Income Students

20.51%

Graduation Rate

66.2%

#29 - Florida State University

Florida State University

Tallahassee, FL

ESMI 50

Tuition

$6,507

Median Early Career Salary

$42,700

Low Income Students

23.25%

Graduation Rate

73.6%

#30 - Northern Illinois University

Northern Illinois University

Dekalb, IL

ESMI 50

Tuition

$12,976

Median Early Career Salary

$46,500

Low Income Students

38.04%

Graduation Rate

56.4%

#31 - University of Houston

University of Houston

Houston, TX

ESMI 49

Tuition

$8,401

Median Early Career Salary

$51,600

Low Income Students

39.43%

Graduation Rate

45.7%

#32 - California State University (Los Angeles)

Cal State Los Angeles

Los Angeles, CA

ESMI 49

Tuition

$6,344

Median Early Career Salary

$43,600

Low Income Students

53.82%

Graduation Rate

37.4%

#33 - Rutgers University

Rutgers University

New Brunswick, NJ

ESMI 49

Tuition

$13,499

Median Early Career Salary

$51,000

Low Income Students

22.91%

Graduation Rate

77%

#34 - University at Buffalo

University of Buffalo

Buffalo, NY

ESMI 49

Tuition

$8,211

Median Early Career Salary

$47,800

Low Income Students

22.91%

Graduation Rate

77%

#35 - Wichita State University

Wichita State University

Wichita, KS

ESMI 49

Tuition

$6,926

Median Early Career Salary

$42,300

Low Income Students

50.5%

Graduation Rate

41.2%

#36 - Mississippi State University

Mississippi State University

Mississippi State, MS

ESMI 48

Tuition

$6,772

Median Early Career Salary

$46,800

Low Income Students

24.62%

Graduation Rate

58%

#37 - California Polytechnic State University (San Luis Obispo)

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

San Luis Obispo, CA

ESMI 48

Tuition

$8,724

Median Early Career Salary

$56,200

Low Income Students

11.17%

Graduation Rate

72.9%

#38 - University of North Carolina at Charlotte

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Charlotte, NC

ESMI 48

Tuition

$6,107

Median Early Career Salary

$43,500

Low Income Students

25.25%

Graduation Rate

55.2%

#39 - California State University (Fullerton)

Cal State Fullerton

Fullerton, CA

ESMI 47

Tuition

$6,186

Median Early Career Salary

$42,600

Low Income Students

29.54%

Graduation Rate

51.4%

#40 - University of Florida

University of Florida

Gainesville, FL

ESMI 47

Tuition

$6,263

Median Early Career Salary

$48,800

Low Income Students

12.85%

Graduation Rate

84.5%


The relative sensitivity of the variables in the SMI are as follows:

Variable Sensitivity
Tuition 126
Economic Background 125
Graduation Rate 66
Early Career Salary 65
Endowment 30

 

Sources:

http://www.socialmobilityindex.org/

http://www.brookings.edu/research/reports/2013/06/13-facts-higher-education

http://futureofchildren.org/publications/journals/article/index.xml?journalid=35&articleid=90&sectionid=549

Payscale, Inc., IPEDS, and NACUBO

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