UCR Leads Major U.S. Universities in Pell Grant Student Success

According to a new analysis, UC Riverside enrolls and graduates more Pell Grant recipients than any other major university

New recognition of Pell Grant and social mobility metrics by U.S. News helped buoy UCR in the magazine’s annual Best Colleges rankings.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu) — According to an analysis of federal data, the University of California, Riverside leads all major universities in enrolling and graduating students who receive Pell Grants.

In a report titled, “The Pell Divide: How Four-Year Institutions are Failing to Graduate Low- and Moderate-Income Students,” researchers at D.C.-based think tank Third Way reviewed six-year graduation rates of students receiving Pell Grants. Using the most recent available data, the report authors considered the cohort of first-time, full-time freshmen who entered college in fall 2010. Based on that analysis, UCR enrolled and graduated more Pell Grant students than any other research university in the nation. For the 2010 cohort, UCR enrolled 2,528 Pell Grant recipients. Of those students, 1,835 graduated within six-years.

Created as part of the Higher Education Act of 1965, Pell Grants are the federal government’s primary means of aiding low- and middle-income students to attend college. In October 2017, a change in reporting requirements made graduation rates for Pell students available for the first time.

UCR also vastly outperformed the national average of Pell Grant student success. Nationwide, 49 percent of Pell Grant students graduate within six years, compared to 67 percent for non-Pell students. At UCR, the Pell student graduation rate for the 2010 cohort was 73 percent, 24 percentage points higher than the national average. That figure also equaled UCR’s non-Pell graduation rate of 73 percent, another example of UCR’s success in eliminating achievement gaps across income categories and ethnicities.

UCR also stood out nationally when jointly considering an institution’s success in enrolling as well as graduating Pell students. UCR was one of only two public universities in the nation with a Pell student enrollment greater than 50 percent and a Pell student graduation rate greater than 70 percent. The other campus to do so was CUNY Baruch College in Manhattan, New York.

The University of California in general performed extremely well in the Third Way analysis. As one example, when looking at the Pell graduation rates of public institutions, the top seven schools were all UC campuses.

UCR is widely recognized as a national leader in student success. In 2016, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities honored UCR with the prestigious “Project Degree Completion Award” for innovation in improving student success.

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