Putting Education Reform To The Test

Florida Schools Top “Social Mobility” Rankings

The Carnegia Library at Florida A&M University in the 1930s.


The Carnegia Library at Florida A&M University in the 1930s.

Five Florida schools are in the nation’s top 50 on a new ranking that measures how well graduates climb the economic ladder.

Florida A&M University is ranked number three and Florida International University is ranked seventh on the Social Mobility Index created by CollegeNET, a higher education technology firm, and Payscale, which tracks worker pay.

The rankings factor tuition, percentage of low income students, graduation rates, recent graduate earnings and school endowment. The rankings reward schools with low tuition or a high percentage of low-income students, in particular.

Florida State University ranked 29th, University of Florida 40th and the University of South Florida 48th.

Overall, the state of Florida ranked number four in the nation.

By comparison, Princeton ranked 360th, Harvard 438th and Yale 440th.

The Social Mobility Index ignores factors included in other rankings, such as the opinion of faculty, class size, freshman retention rates and others.

“If colleges can begin aggressively shifting policy towards increasing access to higher education,” the rankings’ creators argue, “particularly for economically disadvantaged students and families, they will establish themselves as a key force for economic and social convergence. Unfortunately, as the SMI rankings reveal, the opposite is occurring.

“Pursuing false prestige in popular periodicals, many schools are wasting money and time groveling to each other for recognition in so-called peer assessments.”

The Social Mobility Index uses private data, so not every college is included in the rankings.


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