Today@Sam Article

SHSU Ranked Among Best At Advancing Economic Opportunity For Low-Income Students

May 6, 2019
SHSU Media Contact: Emily Binetti

Sam Houston State University ranks second in the state of Texas in the Social Mobility Index created to measure how well universities educate economically challenged students and enable them to obtain high-paying jobs. In addition to placing second in Texas by CollegeNET, SHSU ranks No. 61 nationally. Spr18Friday53

The Social Mobility Index ranks nearly 1,400 four-year U.S. colleges and universities according to how successfully they enroll students from low-income backgrounds and graduate them into promising careers.

“This distinction is a testament to the outstanding work of our faculty in providing wide access to educational opportunities,” President Dana Hoyt said. “Improving on graduation rates, especially for low-income and first-generation students, has been a top priority and this new ranking reflects our progress.”

The Social Mobility Index is computed by CollegeNET based on five variables: published tuition, percent of student body whose families are below the US median income, graduation rate, reported median salary 0-5 years after graduation, and endowment. A high SMI score means that a university is contributing in a responsible way to solving the nation’s problem of economic immobility.

Comparing academic years 2014-15 to 2017-18, SHSU has seen a 48 percent increase in degrees awarded to students reporting first generation status. Hoyt believes several university initiatives, designed to enhance student success, contributed to the growth. 

One example is the strategic efforts of Frontier Set – a team of SHSU instructors devoted to improving low-income, first-generation graduation rates through a $640,000 grant funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Another initiative, SHSU’s First-Year Experience program, draws on a variety of campus resources such as freshman seminars, learning communities, advising and the Common Reader Program to support students transitioning into college.

“By 2020, 65 percent of all jobs will require a higher level of education,” Hoyt said. “Ensuring that all students receive access to the opportunities needed to prepare them for the future workforce is vital.”  




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