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UC Merced Ranks in the Top 10 for Economic Mobility

September 7, 2023
The economic mobility for graduates at 1,400 universities were examined for this study.

UC Merced is among the top 10 U.S. universities for driving economic mobility for its graduates, according to a new study by think tank Third Way.

In its second annual national assessment of the impact of higher education on students and families, the Economic Mobility Index, Third Way ranked UC Merced No. 7 among all U.S. universities based on metrics linking students' initial financial status and their post-graduation economic success.

"This important look at economic empowerment, by an organization focused on opportunity for all Americans, reminds us of the importance of rigorous, affordable higher education in transforming our students' lives, and for many, the lives of their families," said Chancellor Juan Sánchez Muñoz.

With more than 60% of its undergraduates eligible for Pell Grants, UC Merced has a "price to earnings premium" (PEP) of 1.27 years - that is, it takes the average graduate from a low-income family 1.27 years of work to retire college-related debt.

"It's no secret that institutions offering low tuition costs and enrolling large percentages of Pell-eligible students are walking the walk when it comes to providing economic mobility to today's college graduates," the authors of the study wrote. "Institutions that are affordable and offer a quick return on investment are committed to access and success for low- to moderate-income students who stand to gain the most in economic and social returns from higher education."

Third Way studied more than 1,400 universities.

In other recent news, Washington Monthly ranked UC Merced No. 56 in the country based on graduates' social mobility, faculty research and students' public service. On the social mobility score alone, the university was No. 27 in the United States.

The Wall Street Journal ranked UC Merced No. 15 among public universities and No. 59 overall. The publication transitioned this year to a new methodology for its annual rankings that places an emphasis on student outcomes.

And Princeton Review named UC Merced to its list of the best 389 U.S. colleges; the university placed highly for "Green Matters: Everyone Cares About Conservation" (No. 24), "Top 50 Green Colleges" (No. 12) and appears on the "Best West" list of schools.