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Stanford Study: Stony Brook Creates Upward Income Mobility For Students


A Stony Brook University education provides a proven path toward upward mobility for students from low-income households, according to a new study led by the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.

Stony Brook University students

Entitled Mobility Report Cards: The Role of Colleges in Intergenerational Mobility, the report ranks Stony Brook among the top 10 colleges and universities in the nation whose students begin college at the bottom fifth of income distribution and then go on to earn in the top three-fifths of income distribution.

According to the study, “51% of students from the bottom quintile reach the top quintile at Stony Brook. Because 16% of students at Stony Brook are from the bottom quintile compared with 4% at the Ivy-Plus colleges, Stony Brook has a bottom-to-top-quintile mobility rate of 8.4%, substantially higher than the 2.2% rate on average at Ivy-Plus colleges.”

“The study is a striking confirmation of Stony Brook’s unique strengths as an engine of social mobility,” said Stony Brook University President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., MD. “We admit the best and brightest students, regardless of economic status, and give them the top-flight education they need for success.”

“Stony Brook offers an environment in which a diverse student body is encouraged to thrive, and a wide array of programs – from EOP/AIM to intensive academic counseling – help to facilitate their success,” Stanley said.

(See: Programs for Success)

“In addition, I give significant credit first to our students for their perseverance; our faculty for their mentorship, academic rigor and guidance; and the staff in our career counseling services program, who help our students achieve their potential.”

The study tracked 14 years of financial records for college students, aged 18-22, at all public and private U.S. colleges and universities from 1999 through 2013. Using de-identified IRS data, researchers compared the reported earnings of college graduates in their early 30s to their parents’ income during student college years. Researchers examined the percentage of students from each institution and found that Stony Brook’s high mobility rate shows graduates reach high income levels within 10 years of graduation.

In comparison to Columbia University, Stony Brook graduates were shown to have earned incomes “that are nearly comparable” and Stony Brook “has a bottom-to-top-quintile mobility rate of 8.4%, channeling nearly 3 times as many children from the bottom to the top of the income distribution as Columbia.”

“Improving access to higher education and minimizing student debt are vital to the role of higher education in economic mobility,” said President Stanley. “Also crucial are programs that ensure that economically disadvantaged students receive the support on campus that they need in order to benefit as fully as possible from a proven engine of economic mobility. I’m proud to say that is a top priority at Stony Brook.”

To read the study in its entirety, click here.

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