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Brookings study affirms SFU as economic mobility engine

September 11, 2020 Author: Erin McCloskey Tags: Distinctions , University News

A recent report from the Brookings Institution ranks Saint Francis University fourth among four-year schools with the greatest success in Middle-Class Mobility. Within its selectivity tier, Saint Francis University stands as the number one ranked institution.

The Brookings ranking compliments other recent rankings for the institution. Saint Francis University recently garnered a ranking by Money magazine in their annual Best College for Your Money ranking.

"Saint Francis University has always been deeply committed to developing each individual to their fullest potential so that they join the workforce as tomorrow's ethical leaders," said University President Father Malachi Van Tassell, T.O.R. "Our strong and consistent record in producing social mobility among our graduates demonstrates how faithful we have been, throughout our 173-year history, to providing transformative education that results in talented graduates. Social mobility is increasingly the benchmark measure of colleges' core value and the Brookings report is further affirmation of Saint Francis University's record of success."

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.

Saint Francis University ( in Loretto, PA is the oldest Catholic-Franciscan college in the United States. Its mission is to help students grow into compassionate, successful professionals through a culture of generosity, respect, discovery and joy.

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