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CSULA No. 1 in Moving Students Up the Income Ladder

Low-income students who graduate from Cal State University, Los Angeles are more likely to move up the income ladder then students at other universities, including some of the most elite private schools in the country, according to a recently released national study on student mobility.

Cal State LA ranked number one in the study examining the role colleges and universities play in moving students up the income ladder.

According to the study by The Equality of Opportunity Project, Cal State LA has propelled a higher percentage of students from the bottom fifth of income into the top fifth of U.S. earners than any of the other 2,000 colleges and universities in the study, including Ivy League schools.

The study specifically defines a college or university’s mobility rate as “the fraction of its students who come from a family in the bottom fifth of the income distribution and end up in the top fifth.”

“This research confirms that Cal State LA provides a transformative educational experience,” said Cal State LA President William A. Covino in a statement following the publication of the study by the New York Times.

The study’s authors included researchers from UC Berkeley, Stanford and Brown University, who said they based their findings on an analysis of anonymous tax filings and tuition records from the federal government following 30 million college students from 1999 to 2013.

Researchers compared the incomes of college graduates in their 30s from low income families with that of their parents. The research focused on universities and colleges in the U.S. with more than 900 students born between 1980 and 1982 who attended school at some point between the ages of 19 and 22.

“This study…really lays the groundwork for future study on how places like Cal State LA can be emulated,” said Robert Fluegge of Stanford University, one of the researchers involved in the study. “We want to understand exactly what is going on at places that look really good by our metrics.”

Cal State LA’s mobility rate is 9.9%. Pace University-New York ranked second on the list with a rate of 8.4%.

“Education has the power to change the lives of all students, regardless of where they begin in life,” said Cal State LA Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Lynn Mahoney. “Our outstanding faculty and staff understand well the transformative role of public universities. They know what is needed to take students from where they are, to where they need to be.”

Cal State LA also scored well when examining the upward mobility of students from the bottom 40% of the income distribution to the top 40%. The university ranks sixth on that list, with a mobility rate of 35.7%, according to The New York Times.

While highlighting the success of institutions like Cal State LA, the study also underscores the need to study the means by which high mobility rates are achieved.

“At Cal State LA we focus on what matters most—our students,” said Vice President Jose A. Gomez. “Our support not only elevates students, but also their families and the communities we serve.”