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Some Public Colleges Help Students Achieve Higher Rates of Upward Mobility

Jan 18 2017

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In the Press

Public schools dominate in a list of top 10 colleges that channel kids from low- or middle-income families to the top 20 percent of American wage earners in a study co-authored by Stanford economist Raj Chetty.

The study examined the “mobility rate” of every college in America, and found that certain state and community colleges – such as the California State colleges (California State University system) and the City University of New York – offer pathways to higher incomes for the country’s younger generations.

Highly selective colleges do well in channeling children from low- or middle-income families to the top 1 percent of the income distribution, but one of the study’s most compelling findings is that the colleges with the highest upward mobility rates are typically mid-tier public schools that have both large numbers of low-income students and very good earnings outcomes.
“There are a lot of mid-tier schools that admit a lot of low-income kids and have very good outcomes,” said Professor Chetty. “Those are the colleges we should be looking to as models as we think about how to give more kids pathways to upward mobility.