I haven’t exactly been shy with my criticisms of how higher education functions in this country, pointing out that 45 percent of college students don’t learn anything in their first two years of school and wondering if college is just a $200,000 insurance policy for the middle class. Universities, at their best, provide a bridge to a better life, a way for people with limited means to realize their potential; the more we move away from that towards a model where universities act as expensive Club Meds for already privileged students, the more we put the “American dream” out of reach for a majority of people.
That’s why I was pleased that Washington Monthly put together this list of the universities that contribute the most to society through increasing social mobility, providing useful research and public service. The rankings for social mobility are based on a university’s ability to recruit and graduate low-income students and the results run the gamut from from large, public universities to small, private Christian ones. One thing is for sure; no matter what model they follow, the results these universities get should be studied and replicated. With increasing income inequality and a stagnant (if not declining) standard of living, it’s starting to feel like America’s once mobile society is becoming increasingly ossified. Changing the way our higher education system works is one important step in fixing this.
Top 10 Universities Ranked by Social Mobility
- Jackson State University
- South Carolina State University
- Tennessee State University
- University of California—San Diego
- University of La Verne
- Clark Atlanta University
- Spalding University
- University of California—Riverside
- Florida A&M University
- University of California—Los Angeles
Read the entire list here.
Photo: SD Dirk, Flickr, CC