08:30 AM

CSUSM Again Ranks Among National Leaders in Social Mobility

Cal State San Marcos again stands among the national leaders in the social mobility of its graduates, according to new rankings by the online publication CollegeNET.  

CSUSM ranks 32nd nationally out of more than 1,500 schools measured in the eighth annual Social Mobility Index (SMI) by CollegeNET. The SMI measures the extent to which a college or university educates more economically disadvantaged students (with family incomes below the national median) at lower tuition and graduates them into good-paying jobs.  

CSUSM was included in the top 5% of the index for the seventh consecutive year, and it ranks higher on the list than any other institution in San Diego County.  

The SMI differs from most other rankings of colleges and universities in that it focuses directly on the factors that enable economic mobility. The index is computed from five variables: published tuition, percentage of students whose families have incomes below $48,000 (slightly below the U.S. median), graduation rate, median salary approximately five years after graduation, and endowment size.

“Nationally, higher education is often called out for reinforcing inequality rather than closing socioeconomic gaps,” CSUSM President Ellen Neufeldt said. “However, our consistently high SMI ranking embodies our collective efforts to serve any student who dreams of the opportunities that come with a college education as we help them reach their full potential.”  

Since its founding in 1989, CSUSM has been dedicated to student success and social mobility. From first-year programs to learning communities, community-based learning opportunities, internships, undergraduate research and more, the university works to foster deep learning and academic success by engaging students in meaningful and innovative educational experiences.  

These practices are especially beneficial to underserved student groups. About half of CSUSM students are underrepresented minorities, and at least 52% of graduates are the first in their families to earn a bachelor’s degree. One in nine students is a veteran, service member or military-affiliated dependent. CSUSM is also a major contributor of bachelor’s degree holders to the region’s workforce, with more than 80% of students remaining in the region following graduation.  

One recent example of CSUSM’s commitment to social mobility is its establishment of the Office of Success Coaching, which started in the summer of 2020 with a goal of providing equitable and personalized student support services to all newly admitted students for one year. The program this fall received a national award for excellence and innovation from the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, an organization based in Washington, D.C., of nearly 400 state-supported colleges and universities throughout the country.  

“I look forward to continuing our efforts to be a national model in the area of student success and social mobility – building on the important work already in place and taking it to new heights through innovation, collaboration and inclusion,” Neufeldt said.