UCR Earns Top-10 Ranking in New Social Mobility Index Survey

University is eighth overall in survey that emphasizes economic mobility

students walking

UC Riverside was ranked eighth in the new Social Mobility Index survey, which rates schools based upon their ability to help students improve their social and economic standing. Photo by Ross French

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — The University of California, Riverside has been included among the top-10 schools on the new Social Mobility Index (SMI) survey, co-sponsored by CollegeNet and PayScale. The SMI ranking emphasizes economic mobility and the extent that a college or university helps its students with family incomes below the national median improve their social and economic standing.

UCR placed eighth overall among the 539 schools with a SMI ranking of 43.79. UC Davis placed sixth overall with 49.58 points and UC Berkeley was ninth with 43.36 points. The top school in the survey was Montana Tech of the University of Montana. The full rankings can be found on their website.

The survey’s methodology incorporated five weighted variables: published tuition, percent of student body whose families are below the US median income, graduation rate, reported median salary 0-5 years after graduation, and endowment. The survey specifically did not incorporate reputations based upon the opinions of faculty or administrators regarding social or economic mobility, as it would “perpetuate the biases and stereotypes collected in such surveys.”

According to the survey 42.98% of UCR students are considered “low income.” The salary for UCR grads considered “early career employees,” defined as “full-time employees with five years of experience or less in their career or field working in the U.S. who hold a bachelor’s degree and no higher degrees,” is $45,600.

This is the second significant survey in which UCR has received high marks for social mobility. For the last four years, the university has been ranked in the top-10 among national universities in Washington Monthly’s Annual College Ranking Survey, placing second overall in 2013 and 2014.  The Washington Monthly Survey considers civic engagement, research, and social mobility.

The article accompanying the Washington Monthly ranking read, in part:  “The UC campus in Riverside…. stands out as a model for other public universities to follow….. Riverside is unusually focused on social mobility. Since 2006, its enrollment has grown by 25 percent. Half of all freshmen are first-generation college students, and the campus is the most racially and ethnically diverse within the UC system. Riverside’s focus on public service exceeds that of almost every other national university.”

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