A report from the Brookings Institution ranks Brooklyn College ninth nationwide among all four-year colleges for lifting low-income students into the middle class.

“This study further validates Brooklyn College’s success in helping students better their lives and their families’ lives, as they grow into the change agents of tomorrow,” Brooklyn College President Michelle J. Anderson said. “This recognition makes everyone associated with our important mission extremely proud and inspires us to do even more as faculty and administrators.”

In the Brookings “bottom-to-top” rankings, Brooklyn College joined four other CUNY senior colleges in the top 10, and three other CUNY senior colleges were ranked in the top 25.

“CUNY has throughout its history been a beacon of access, opportunity and economic mobility for all New Yorkers, and we are proud that in recent years we have been especially focused on helping students from the lowest income levels join the middle class,” said Chancellor Félix Matos Rodríguez. “Social mobility is increasingly the gold-standard measure of colleges’ value and the Brookings report is further affirmation of CUNY’s record of success.”

Broadly, selective four-year colleges were found to be the workhorses of upward mobility for the middle class, accounting for 34 percent of middle-class enrollment, 50 percent of spending on middle-class students, and 43 percent of Middle-Class mobility partly because they enroll many more students.

The Brookings “Middle Class Mobility” report used the same data and similar methodology as a pioneering and widely cited 2017 study led by economist Raj Chetty, who was then at Stanford and is now at Harvard. The study assessed data for more than 1,600 colleges and ranked the schools according to the percentage of their graduates who came from families in the bottom 20 percent of income level and eventually reached the top 20 percent for individual earnings. The study also built on the Chetty team’s social mobility research by assessing colleges’ success in helping students from middle-income families move up the economic ladder.

The Brookings study drew on publicly available data from the U.S. Department of Education that the Chetty study used to assess colleges’ impact on social mobility. That study created a database of family income for more than 30 million college students from 1999 to 2013, based on anonymous tax and financial aid information, and tracked their earnings over the decade after they graduated. The Brookings report, led by Sarah Reber, an economist and professor of public policy at UCLA, used that database and similar methodology to expand the research to include students from middle-class families, those with incomes in the top 40 to 60 percent.

Other recent distinctions Brooklyn College has received include:

  • Among the 200 Best Value Colleges in the United States—Princeton Review, 2020
  • One of the Top 40 Best Colleges for Your Money in the United States—Money, 2019
  • One of the 100 Best Value Colleges in the United States—Forbes, 2019
  • The #1 most ethnically diverse U.S. college in the north—U.S. News & World Report, 2019
  • One of the Best Value Colleges in the United States—Princeton Review, 2019
  • One of the top 15 U.S. colleges in the north with the best undergraduate teaching program—U.S. News & World Report, 2019
  • One of the top 20 U.S. public colleges in the north—U.S. News & World Report, 2019
  • One of the Top 10 Four-year Public Institutions for Student-mobility Rates—Chronicle of Higher Education, 2018