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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 28th nationally out of almost 1,500 schools measured in the seventh 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 improved its ranking in the SMI for the fifth consecutive year. The university ranked 74th in 2015, 62nd in 2016, 54th in 2017, 52nd in 2018 and 36th last year. 

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 rising 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 54% 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. 

“Our university community is always fostering new and innovative ways to ensure positive student outcomes,” Neufeldt said. “Just as one example, this year we have introduced a new office featuring a team of dedicated success coaches who provide equitable and personalized support services to all newly admitted students for one year, giving them a crucial leg up on the path to graduation.   

“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 new heights through innovation, collaboration and inclusion.”