SMC Among 40 Higher-Ed Institutions Recognized For Helping Students Climb Income Ladder

Chronicle of Higher EducationSaint Mary's College of California is recognized in the Chronicle of Higher Education among 40 four-year nonprofit private universities and colleges in the nation with distinctive upward mobility rates for low-income students. In the Chronicle article “Colleges With the Highest Student-Mobility Rates, 2014,” Saint Mary’s was acknowledged for fostering success by propelling students, whose families came from the bottom 20 percent income bracket, into the top 20 percent income bracket.

“We are extremely proud to be acknowledged for providing an academic experience that leads to success in the professional lives of our students,” said Saint Mary’s President James Donahue. “This recognition underscores the College’s commitment to academic excellence and our Lasallian Catholic mission to meet students where they are and provide the necessary educational and ethical foundations to ensure they not only enjoy rewarding careers, but they also have meaningful, purpose-filled lives.”

Saint Mary’s is the only Catholic university from California in the Chronicle’s list, and one of three institutions of higher education from the Golden State. The roster placed the College at 36 on the breakdown of nonprofit four-year private universities and colleges noted for helping students from the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder climb to the top.

“This ranking is a validation of the College's commitment to equity and the outstanding educational experience of students at Saint Mary’s,” said Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Bethami Dobkin. “More than 86 percent of our students receive some form of financial aid, and there are many who are the first in their families to attend college. This research showcases the effectiveness of the College's efforts in ensuring both access for students with limited economic resources, and their success as academically engaged and professionally prepared global citizens.”

The Chronicle’s analysis of the mobility rates of U.S. institutions of higher education was based on the Equality of Opportunity Project’s Mobility Score Card, an educational equity breakdown led by researchers from Stanford University, Brown University, the University of California, Berkeley, and U.S. Treasury Department. The study examined intergenerational income mobility at each college in the United States using data for more than 30 million college students. The researchers defined an institution’s mobility rate as the percentage of all students attending a particular college during the early 2000s, and who had parents in the bottom 20 percent of the national income bracket, and, by 2014, those students rose to the top 20 percent of the national income bracket for their age group. 

The inclusion of Saint Mary’s in the Chronicle of Higher Education’s list of 40 institutions with the highest student-mobility rates follows other recent affirmations about the transformative capacity of the College. For the third year in a row, Saint Mary’s is listed as one of the top 10 best regional universities in the West in the 2018 U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges ranking. Additionally, the College is ranked among the top 20 percent of U.S. colleges and universities in The Wall Street Times Higher Education 2018 College Rankings guide.


Michael McAlpin
Director of Media Relations
(925) 631-4222

About SMC
The Saint Mary's College of California experience inspires learning that lasts a lifetime. For more than 150 years, the College has provided students with a rigorous education that engages their intellect and spirit, and awakens a desire to transform society. Guided by the Christian Brothers, the Catholic Church's oldest order dedicated exclusively to teaching, the College enrolls more than 4,000 students in undergraduate and graduate liberal arts and business programs. For more information visit Saint Mary's College at and just 23 miles east of San Francisco.