College Climbs Social Mobility Rankings for CollegeNet

By Liat Guvenc

SUNY New Paltz ranks in the top 3% of schools to promote socioeconomic mobility of graduates, which is determined by the Social Mobility Index.

The Social Mobility Index ranks colleges based on tuition, percentage of families whose incomes are below $48,000, graduation rates of Pell Grant recipients, which is a federal grant for students with financial needs, early career net salaries and endowment. Each variable is weighed in that order.

“Our success on this measure reflects the excellent and dedicated work of faculty and staff across the institution, our students’ hard work, the great appeal of our campus to diverse students,” said President Donald P. Christian in a press release in February.

In the 2017 edition of the Social Mobility Index, SUNY New Paltz ranked number 45 out of 1,363 U.S. colleges and universities, which is what pushed it into the top 3% nationwide. This measurement determines the schools’ ability to help students – especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds – climb the socioeconomic ladder.

This index was created by CollegeNet to praise colleges that promote job readiness and equality in education.

The graduation rates of all students are not examined because, according to CollegeNet, affluent students have a higher rate of college graduation.

Using the graduation rate of Pell Grant recipients shows a college’s dedication to making sure their disadvantaged students graduate.

According to statistics from the college, 37% of all SUNY New Paltz students receive the Pell Grant, while only 15% of the most affluent students receive the grant.

Richer families are also awarded the Pell Grant, which is why it is weighed lighter on the Social Mobility Index.

CollegeNet predicts that employers will look for candidates who have a broad range of knowledge and creativity.

“Dipping your toes into other skills that might not seem directly related to your major [and] immersing yourself in various ways of thought might give you the edge over other candidates,” said Andre Dvorak, who graduated from SUNY New Paltz in 2019 with a computer science degree and now attends graduate school at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. 

The Career Resource Center offers resources in finding jobs, networking, interview training and practice. The college also holds internship and job fairs, professional photo shoots and alumni panels. For more information, visit the career resource center website at