These 10 Colleges Excel at Turning Poor Teens Into Well-Off Adults

Income mobility
Facebook/CalStateLA

We’ve all seen the classic college rankings.

Heck, I even used these rankings to inform my higher ed decisions.

Of course, there are the “the most bang for your buck” lists and the “most jocks” lists. There’s a list for the colleges that produce graduates who make bank — even one for the best community colleges.

But we recently stumbled across a different ranking.

This one ranks colleges by mobility rates — or how good they are at making poor kids rich.

10 Colleges With High Rates of Income Mobility

Here’s some context: We first read about this research from the Equality of Opportunity Project on Vox.

It’s also been reported elsewhere, too (like the New York Times, which has a fun interactive).

Anyway, Stanford University’s Raj Chetty, Brown University’s John Friedman and Harvard University’s Nathaniel Hendren led this research project to examine the role of colleges in income mobility.

In other words, which colleges accept poor kids and produce financially successful adults?

“Higher education is widely viewed as a pathway to upward income mobility,” the study’s introduction reads. “However, inequality in access to colleges — particularly those that offer the best chances of success — could limit or even reverse colleges’ ability to promote intergenerational mobility.”

These researchers used the rosters at all Title-IV higher ed schools in conjunction with millions of anonymous tax returns and info from the National Student Loan Data System to develop some interesting conclusions.

If you want to dive deeper into the study and how it was conducted, Vox explained it in a fairly understandable way — at least a heck of a lot better than I can. Combing through the original study also proves interesting.

But if you’re impatient like me and just want to know how you can go to college without much money and emerge with the potential to earn big bucks after graduation, here are the schools you should be looking into…

These are the top 10 colleges, ranked by mobility rate (from the bottom 20% to the top 20%):

  1. California State University, Los Angeles
  1. Pace University in New York
  1. Stony Brook University, New York
  1. Technical Career Institutes
  1. University of Texas — Pan American
  1. The City University of New York system
  1. Glendale Community College
  1. South Texas College
  1. California State Polytechnic University — Pomona
  1. University of Texas at El Paso

The mobility rates were determined by multiplying “access” and “success rates” together.

“In other words, the mobility rate is the joint probability of a child being from the bottom quintile and reaching the top quintile,” the study more eloquently states.

Your Turn: What do you think about this list?

Carson Kohler (@CarsonKohler) is a junior writer at The Penny Hoarder.

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