Report: Is the University Next Door the Way to Upward Mobility?

April 18, 2019

Share this

Title: Is the University Next Door the Way to Upward Mobility?

Author: Jorge Klor de Alva

Source: American Enterprise Institute (AEI)

Americans have long considered upward mobility as one of the paramount benefits of a college education. With bachelor’s degree holders earning nearly 74 percent more in wages than those with a high school diploma, realizing the American dream often relies on a formal postsecondary education.

However, great disparities exist between outcomes for students based on a wide range of factors, including demographic characteristics and differences in choice of study and the institutions that students attend. AEI investigated factors that might explain such variation in mobility rates in their latest report, “Is the University Next Door the Way to Upward Mobility?” Taking a specific look at comprehensive universities—public institutions that primarily enroll students who live near the campus—AEI found upward mobility ranges from around 30 percent to over 70 percent at both competitive and less selective institutions.

The report further demonstrates that while students who attended comprehensive schools often realize the benefit of upward mobility, downward mobility is sometimes even more dramatic. Nearly 11 percent of students in the sample who started in the top three quintiles fell to the lowest quintile. Of the 32 percent of students who began in the top quintile, over 21 percent dropped to the lowest two quintiles by the time they reached their 30s.

Overall, AEI highlights the strong link between social mobility and graduation, demonstrating the continued need for institutions and policy makers to focus on best practices for broad access institutions to help students complete their degree.

To learn more about the study findings and recommendations, click here.

—Jinann Bitar

If you have any questions or comments about this blog post, please contact us.

Keep Reading

U.S. Capitol

Patent Troll Legislation Could Hinder University Research and Innovation

The ability of universities to continue generating important discoveries and innovations in areas such as health and technology, research that often leads to life-saving inventions such as new drugs or groundbreaking ways to cultivate arid soil in developing countries, may rest on the outcome of a legislative battle now in Congress.

April 28, 2014

Opening Cuba and the World to Webster University Students

On Dec. 17, 2014, President Obama announced that he was restoring full diplomatic relations with Cuba, a historic decision that is ending over 50 years of frozen relations. Higher education has been one of the main beneficiaries of these early efforts. Beth Stroble, president of Webster University in Missouri, explores the future for continued cooperation between U.S. and Cuban institutions.

May 11, 2015
Roanoke College graduation

Supporting First-Generation and Low-Income Students at the University of Florida

First launched in 2006, the Machen Florida Opportunity Scholars Program supports nearly 1,250 undergraduates annually and will soon surpass the 2,000 alumni milestone. For the first-generation and low-income students in the program, early estimates indicate that they are 44 percent more likely to graduate in four years and 47 percent more likely to complete in six years compared to their peers.

September 21, 2015