PORTLAND, Ore.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--CollegeNET, Inc., a leading provider of web-based on-demand technologies for higher education and the creator of the Social Mobility Index (SMI), a data-driven system that ranks 4-year US colleges and universities according to how effectively they enroll students from low-income backgrounds and graduate them into promising careers, today announced that California State University, Stanislaus has been selected as the sixth of 10 Social Mobility Innovators for 2017.
The goal of the SMI -- now in its third year -- is to help redirect the attribution of "prestige" in our higher education system toward colleges and universities that are advancing economic opportunity, the most pressing issue of our time.
Stanislaus State has one of the nation’s highest percentages of first-generation college students. Indeed, nearly 80 percent of its incoming freshman class in fall 2016 self-identified as first-generation. The university is also a federally designated Hispanic-Serving institution (HIS) with a 50-percent Hispanic student body. Stanislaus State has ranked among the top 20 schools on CollegeNET’s Social Mobility Index (SMI) for three consecutive years (2014-2016).
“Most higher education rankings approach the problem of comparing colleges and universities as steering consumers toward a brand or purchase,” says Jim Wolfston, CEO of CollegeNET. “The SMI, on the other hand, helps policymakers, students and their families see which colleges and universities are addressing the national problem of economic mobility. Administrators in higher education will be more effective in strengthening US economic mobility and restoring the promise of the American Dream if they can identify and learn from colleges and universities like Stanislaus State that are already skilled at doing this.”
Assisting Students in the Transition from College to Career
Stanislaus State was selected as a CollegeNET Social Mobility Innovator for 2017 because of its culture of student support, which includes enrolling students from low-income and underserved backgrounds, helping them stay in school through graduation, and helping them develop skills to fill professional positions that will advance their socioeconomic status. In addition to offering a number of targeted programs aimed at increasing student success, Stanislaus State also has the second-highest faculty tenure density -- 61.6 percent -- among the 23 schools in the California State University system. This ensures that students have more opportunity to engage with Ph.D.-level professors.
“Our faculty and staff are proud to help students flourish, create better outcomes for themselves and their families and to make their American Dream come true,” says Stanislaus State President Dr. Ellen Junn. “It is our hope that every student who graduates from Stan State will be better for the time they’ve spent here and take their lessons into the community, realizing their potential and advancing the region in which they live.”
Stanislaus State’s efforts to advance social mobility are delivering significant results. The school’s 2015 cohort generated a one-year retention rate of 85.1 percent for returning freshman while first-time freshmen in the 2010 cohort established a six-year graduation rate of 57.4 percent.
The goal at Stanislaus State is to increase four- and six-year graduation rates through campus programs and activities that are part of the California State University’s Graduation Initiative 2025. This includes strengthening pathways between high schools and junior colleges and Stanislaus State as well as implementing a software tool that helps students schedule classes and stay on track for graduation.
“We’ve made a commitment to embracing and enhancing the academic success of our students,” explains Junn, “and that begins by making sure every student sees and understands their clear path to graduation on a diverse and inclusive campus.”
Reversing Higher Education’s Harmful “Tri-Imperfecta”
“Stanislaus State is providing real educational opportunity to promising students regardless of their economic background,” adds CollegeNET’s Wolfston. “Its civic contribution is key given that economic mobility and the American Dream are rapidly deteriorating. Indeed, higher education is now caught in a damaging ‘tri-imperfecta.’ Tuitions are increasing, economic inclusion is declining on campuses and Pell Grants -- intended for disadvantaged students with financial need -- are being awarded more generously to richer families. Stanislaus State’s focus and innovation provide an example of how we can reverse these trends.”
See the complete SMI rankings.
About CollegeNET, Inc.
CollegeNET, Inc. builds on-demand SaaS technologies that help institutions improve operational efficiency, enhance communication with constituents, and save money. The company’s systems are used by 1,300 institutions worldwide for event and academic scheduling, recruitment and admissions management, web-based tuition processing, instructor and course evaluation, and web-based career services for students. Additionally, the company operates CollegeNET.com, a social network through which students create topics, write about them, and vote to determine who will win scholarships. CollegeNET.com has awarded more than $2 million in scholarships to date. The company is headquartered in Portland, Oregon.