Often overlooked in rankings, Hispanic-serving colleges embrace a new metric for success

Thursday, June 09, 2022

Which schools deserve to top lists of the best colleges in the U.S.? That depends on what you mean by “best.” If “best” means the most prestigious and more selective admissions, then sure, current college rankings are doing what they’re meant to do. But if the point of higher education is to buoy economic mobility, those lists that make headlines every year aren’t showing the whole picture. That’s the argument made by researchers at the think tank Third Way, who developed a new way to rank the nation’s colleges. They call it the Economic Mobility Index, and it looks at two factors: a university’s proportion of students from low- and moderate-income backgrounds and the economic boost those students get after enrollment. It’s through this lens that things start to look different. By this metric, all the top schools creating upward mobility for low-income students are Hispanic-Serving Institutions—those with Latinos making up at least 25 percent of full-time undergraduates—and they’re all concentrated in California, Texas and New York.

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