UAlbany Again Ranks Among Leaders in Social, Economic Mobility

A Class of 2022 graduate proudly holds a 1st generation graduate badge at Commencement.

By Mike Nolan

ALBANY, N.Y. (Sept. 15, 2022) — The University at Albany continues to serve as a powerful engine of opportunity according to recent national accolades focused on how universities impact the lives of their most economically disadvantaged students. 

The newly published U.S. News & World Report 2022-23 “Best College Rankings” again recognizes UAlbany as a top performer in social mobility, at No. 38 nationally and within the top 10 percent of all ranked institutions.   

The annual ranking measures how well universities enroll and graduate students who receive federal Pell Grants, which are the most common indicator of financial need among college students and typically awarded to students whose adjusted gross family incomes are under $50,000. About 43 percent of UAlbany students are eligible for Pell grants — and nearly one quarter of UAlbany students have no expected family contribution to the cost of their education.   

UAlbany has consistently ranked among U.S. News’ top performers in social mobility since the ranking began in 2019.   

New this year, an Economic Mobility Index (EMI) created by Third Way, a Washington, D.C.–based public policy think tank, ranks UAlbany No. 78 nationally, within the top 6 percent of all ranked institutions and the highest among SUNY’s research centers.   

Instead of only prioritizing reputation and selectivity, the EMI looks at the degree of economic mobility that institutions of higher education provide by examining which schools enroll the highest proportion of students from low-and moderate-income backgrounds as well as the return on their educational investment as measured by earnings later in life.   

Engine of Opportunity  

The U.S News ranking and EMI add to UAlbany’s growing reputation as a national leader in social and economic mobility.  

Washington Monthly consistently ranks UAlbany within its top 15 percent of national universities, which are based on contributions to public good in three broad categories — social mobility, research, and promoting public service.  

Education Reform Now lists UAlbany within the top six percent of its 2020 “Social Mobility Elevators,” while CollegeNET’s Social Mobility Index (SMI) lists UAlbany within the top 2 percent of all ranked institutions. 

“The SUNY system was founded to be an economic ladder for all New Yorkers, and these rankings are further proof that UAlbany continues to live that mission,” said UAlbany President Havidán Rodríguez. “As one of the most diverse public research institutions in the nation, we are fiercely committed to creating life-changing opportunities for all students, especially those who are first generation or come to us from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.”   

Diverse Great Danes  

In addition to being hailed for the economic mobility of its students, UAlbany has been lauded by the Education Trust as a leader in advancing racial equity among the nation’s 101 most selective public higher education institutions – and a national role model for Latino and Black student success.   

This fall, the incoming Class of 2026 was one of the most diverse in University history with 44.7 percent from historically underrepresented groups. Among the Class of 2022 undergraduates who received degrees in May, some 31 percent were first-generation college students.   

See how UAlbany ranks in a variety of areas such as academic programs, and diversity, equity and inclusion