The study benchmarks four-year U.S. colleges and universities according to how effectively they enroll students from low-income backgrounds and graduate them into good-paying jobs.

Brooklyn College was again ranked as a leader in helping students climb the socioeconomic ladder, finishing number 9 out of 1,549 four-year institutions nationwide on the eighth annual Social Mobility Index (SMI) report for 2021. Brooklyn College joined six other CUNY colleges, ranking second among them.

Created by CollegeNET, Inc., a leading provider of web-based on-demand technologies for higher education, the SMI ranks four-year U.S. colleges and universities according to how effectively they enroll students from low-income backgrounds and graduate them into good-paying jobs.

“Once again, Brooklyn College’s transformative work helping students into rewarding careers has been recognized in the Social Media Index for 2021,” said Brooklyn College President Michelle J. Anderson. “As we continue to work our way through one of the most challenging periods in our nation’s history, our focus continues to be offering whatever assistance our students need to succeed. Whether it be in the classroom or emotional and financial support, enhancing Brooklyn College student success is our no. 1 goal.”

The SMI is computed from five variables: published tuition, percent of student body whose families whose incomes are below $48,000 (slightly below the U.S. median), graduation rate, median salary approximately five years after graduation, and endowment. The SMI was founded on the principle that growing disparity in economic opportunity is a pressing problem and higher education is in the strongest position to address it.

The 2021 SMI was released while COVID-19 continues to disproportionately impact low-income students, forcing many to abandon, delay, or alter their pursuit of a college degree and the potential that degree provides for social mobility. A recent report from the U.S. Department of Education (pdf) highlighted this point: “The educational gaps that existed before the pandemic—in access, opportunities, achievement, and outcomes—are widening. And we can see already that many of these impacts are falling disproportionately on students who went into the pandemic with the greatest educational needs and fewest opportunities—many of them from historically marginalized and underserved groups.”

“Unlike other college rankings that celebrate wealth and its proxies, the SMI helps families and policymakers determine which colleges are addressing the national problem of economic mobility,” said CollegeNET President Jim Wolfston. “Administrators have a better chance to help strengthen U.S. economic mobility and the promise of the American Dream if they can identify and learn from colleges that are skilled at doing this. Given that the U.S. is now the least economically mobile among developed nations, it is irresponsible to say an education institution is ‘better’ because it has a huge endowment, or because it admits students with higher SAT/ACT scores—which are most tightly correlated to family income.”

About Brooklyn College

Widely known for its offer of an excellent education at an affordable tuition and recognized nationally for its diverse student body, Brooklyn College has been an anchor institution within the Borough of Brooklyn and greater New York City for more than 90 years. With approximately 17,000 students in more than 100 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the arts, humanities, sciences, education, and business, the college is renowned for its rigorous academics, award-winning faculty, distinguished alumni, and community impact. Part of the City University of New York (CUNY), Brooklyn College offers a vibrant and supportive student experience on a beautifully landscaped 35-acre campus in the borough’s Midwood neighborhood.