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More Bang for the Buck 

The study gave UAlbany high marks for providing low-income and first-generation college students with a ladder to social mobility and economic success through academic excellence.  

ALBANY, N.Y. (Sept. 1, 2017) – Once again, the University at Albany is being praised for shaping a bright economic future for low-income students.

UAlbany is ranked 53 among national universities and 34 in social mobility by Washington Monthly magazine. It is also ranked 51 in “Best Bang for the Buck” in the Northeast.

UAlbany was ranked ahead of the other three SUNY university centers. Where UAlbany ranked 53, Binghamton was 99, Buffalo, 146 and Stony Brook, 148.

Earlier this year, a study in The New York Times ranked UAlbany among the top 20 “selective public colleges” in the nation for offering students who come from poverty the greatest opportunity to achieve wealth in adulthood.

Washington Monthly offers its annual ranking of American colleges and universities with a deliberately different emphasis than U.S. News & World Report. It focuses on schools that make academic and economic opportunity affordable, so that large numbers of low-income and first generation students can earn a high salary and pay off student loans successfully after graduation.

Some 28 percent of UAlbany’s students are the first in their family to go to college, the study noted. That percentage is even higher for the incoming class. Preliminary estimates show 30 percent of UAlbany students are first-generation college students.

According to an article by Kevin Carey in the latest issue of the Washington, D.C.-based bimonthly nonprofit magazine of U.S. politics and government, “our rankings measure what colleges do for their country.

“Instead of assuming that the most expensive schools are also the best, we recognize universities that produce research, train the next generation of scientists and Ph.D.s, and instill their graduates with an ethos of public service,” Carey said.

Accessibility and affordability go hand in hand with academic excellence in the study.

High graduation rates combined with a strong academic profile while maintaining a low net price of attendance are similarly praised in the rankings. Also important was how much of a school’s work-study money pays for students in non-profit and community service jobs.

Public universities offer greater access to a diverse population, the study found. At UAlbany, this year’s freshman class is among the most diverse in University history. Students come from 23 states and 24 countries. Preliminary estimates show 42 percent of the incoming class is white; 9 percent, Asian; 19 percent, African American; and 19 percent, Hispanic or Latino.

Carey wrote that the Washington Monthly college rankings project offers a more nuanced picture of college success.

“The result has been a steady coming-into-focus, with the colleges that balance their obligations to students and knowledge production while remaining affordable emerging at the top of our lists,” he wrote.

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About the University at Albany
A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.