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Moving On Up

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Graduates of RMU who came from poor families are significantly more likely to be high-earning adults than alumni of other selective private universities, according to a national study by the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.

The study, "The Role of Colleges in Intergenerational Mobility," rates U.S. colleges on how they shape their students' prospects of upward mobility. One key statistical indicator, called "success rate," shows the share of graduates who grew up in families with household income in the bottom 20 percent but who now as adults earn in the top 20 percent. RMU's success rate of 43 percent of poor students becoming wealthy adults is nearly double the median success rate of 23 percent for the 578 comparable selective private colleges and universities in the study.

Researchers from Stanford, Brown, and Harvard used publicly available income statistics to get a picture of graduates who were born between 1980-82, graduated from college around 2002-04, and are now in their mid-to- late 30s. The New York Times  reported on the study and shared many of its school-by- school findings.

In Pennsylvania, Robert Morris ranked 18th among 83 universities, and near the top for the region. In the Pittsburgh area, Robert Morris graduates' success rate of 43% was higher than all but one, Carnegie Mellon University, where 53% of students from poor families made it to in the top earning bracket as adults.

Success Rates
(What share of students from families in the bottom fifth of household income are now in the top fifth as adults)

  • Carnegie Mellon - 53%
  • Robert Morris - 43%
  • Duquesne - 41%
  • Univ. of Pittsburgh - 32%
  • Penn State - 30%
  • Carlow - 21%
  • Point Park - 18%
  • IUP - 17%
  • CUP - 17%
  • Chatham - 16%