Stanford Studies 'Mobility Rate' Of American Colleges


A new study by Stanford University has analyzed the "mobility rate" of universities and colleges in the United States. It was found that some state and community colleges are able to provide pathways to higher incomes for younger generations.

In its official website, Professor Raj Chetty, a senior fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research and one of the study's authors, said that there are several mid-tier schools that admit low-income students and help them get very good outcomes in life. He believes that these schools should be the examples to follow in providing students with upward mobility.

The study is entitled "Mobility Report Cards: The Role of Colleges in Intergenerational Mobility." Other researchers in the study are John N. Friedman from Brown University, Emmanuel Saez and Danny Yagan from UC - Berkeley as well as Nicholas Turner from the U.S. Treasury.

A college's upward mobility rate is defined in the study as the fraction of its students coming from families in the bottom fifth of the income distribution who are able to move up to the top fifth by the time they reach 30 years old. It factors in both the number of low-income students enrolling at a particular school as well as the success rate after they graduate.

The researcher used anonymized tax records with data of college students from 1999 to 2013. They also used the Department of Education's College Scorecard.

According to the New York Times, colleges usually promote their part in helping low-income students rise in terms of economic status as well as their commitments to affordability. However, a few elite colleges have been found to focus more on making themselves affordable to low-income families than on expanding access to students.

Yagan noted that free tuition is only helpful once students are able to get in. University of California - Los Angeles, Emory University and Barnard College are among the top elite colleges that enroll the highest percentage of students from low- and middle-income families.

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