CUNY colleges score high for graduates’ social mobility

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Seven senior colleges and five community colleges at The City University of New York dominated the Chronicle of Higher Education’s top 10 lists of public U.S. campuses with the greatest success in moving low-income students into the middle class.

The Chronicle’s list was drawn from a widely reported study of colleges’ impact on social mobility by a team led by Stanford University economics professor Raj Chetty. Their 2017 paper, “Mobility Report Cards: The Role of Colleges in Intergenerational Mobility tracked students from nearly every U.S. college, including nongraduates, and measured their subsequent earnings against millions of anonymous tax filings and financial-aid records. They looked to see how well colleges helped students whose parents were in the bottom 20 percent of income levels reach the top 20 percent for individual earnings.

CUNY’s social-mobility track record also factored in Money magazine’s July ranking of five CUNY senior campuses in the top quarter of its “Best Colleges for Your Money”: Baruch College, Brooklyn College, Queens College, Hunter College and John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Money measured colleges by 27 criteria.

“The Chronicle’s and Money’s emphasis on how colleges help propel students up the economic ladder speaks to CUNY’s strength and mission since 1847,” said Chancellor James B. Milliken. “It is also increasingly viewed as one of the most important contributions higher education can make if it is truly to serve as a means of achieving equity. All of us at CUNY take great pride in the University’s role in helping generations of low-income, underrepresented and immigrant students succeed.”

In Fall 2016, 42.2 percent of CUNY students overall came from households earning less than $20,000; at the senior colleges, 37.1 percent came from such households, while at community colleges, it was 52.9 percent.

The seven CUNY baccalaureate-level colleges in the top 10 were Baruch College, No.1; City College, No. 2; John Jay College of Criminal Justice, No. 4; City Tech, No. 6; Brooklyn College, No. 7; Hunter College, No. 9; and Queens College, No. 10.

The five CUNY associate-level colleges were Borough of Manhattan Community College, No. 3; LaGuardia Community College, No. 5; Bronx Community College, No. 6; Queensborough Community College, No. 8; and Kingsborough Community College, No. 9.

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