Ranking Michigan colleges by social mobility

1. Michigan State University / 2. U-M Dearborn

Almost one in four MSU students were low-income, they graduated at a very high rate (72 percent), and actually earned higher salaries 10 years after enrollment than their classmates from higher-income families. More than 40 percent of U-M Dearborn students were low income, and attendance was a bargain (under $7,000 for families earning under $30,000 a year). For more details, see Five Ways to measure social mobility.

#3 U-M Ann Arbor / #4 Wayne State University

U-M Ann Arbor enrolled the lowest percentage of low-income students among college and universities in the state, but for those who enroll, U-M is a rocket ship to the middle class. The school was tops in low-income student grad rate and income, and second in cost. Almost half of Wayne State students were low-income, and graduates earned good paychecks. The trick is graduating – only about one in five low-income Wayne students earn a degree. For more details, see Five Ways to measure social mobility.

#5 Adrian College / #6 Grand Valley State University

Adrian was the top-ranked private college in Michigan for social mobility. The school enrolled the seventh-highest percentage of low-income students among all colleges and universities, and graduated close to 60 percent of them. Grand Valley graduated 62 percent of its low-income students, and those students earned almost as much as their wealthier classmates. For more details, see Five Ways to measure social mobility.

#7 Central Michigan University / #8 (tie) Western Michigan University

Central and Western were both in the top half of rankings for low-income graduation rates and salaries. Western enrolled a higher percentage of low-income students, but low-income students pay less at Central. For more details, see Five Ways to measure social mobility.

#8 (tie) Madonna University / #10 Ferris State University

Madonna offered a comparatively small cost of attendance for low-income students (less than $9,000 a year), and students from low-income and high-income families earned similar salaries 10 years after enrollment. At Ferris, four out of 10 students were low-income, and about half of them earned a degree, average for Michigan colleges and universities. For more details, see Five Ways to measure social mobility.

#11 (tie) Michigan Tech / U-M Flint

Former Michigan Tech students from low-income families earned $54,000 a year 10 years after enrollment, fourth best among colleges and universities in the state. The graduation rate and cost of attendance for low-income students were both in the top 10. But there was a 22-percent gap in the earnings of former students from low-income families and classmates from high-income families. At U-M Flint, 45 percent of students are low-income, the fourth-highest in the state. For more details, see Five Ways to measure social mobility.

#13 Oakland University / #14 (tie) Hope College

Cost of attendance and earnings 10 years after enrollment both ranked Oakland University in the top 10. But the school enrolled a low percentage of low-income students (20 percent) and graduated less than a third of them. Hope College graduated 75 percent of its low-income students, but doesn’t enroll many (20 percent of students are low-income). For more details, see Five Ways to measure social mobility.

#14 (tie) Eastern Michigan University / #16 Alma College

More than 44 percent of Eastern students were low income, but earnings 10 years after graduation for those low-income students ($37,100) were below average for Michigan schools. Alma College graduated a whopping 75 percent of its low-income students, second best in the state, and they earned $10,000 a year more than low-income grads from EMU. But the cost of attendance for low-income students (over $18,000) was among the highest in the state. For more details, see Five Ways to measure social mobility.

#17 Aquinas College / #18 Kettering University

At Aquinas, 52 percent of low-income students graduate within six years, slightly above average for the state. Students who come to Kettering as low-income don’t stay low-income – more than 70 percent graduated and the median salary 10 years after enrollment was more than $66,000. But few low-income students enrolled (25 percent), maybe because the cost of attendance for low-income students was more than $26,000 a year. For more details, see Five Ways to measure social mobility.

#19 Andrews University / #20 (tie) Northern Michigan University

Former Andrews students earned the same income whether they came from rich or poor families. Unfortunately, those salaries were low (below $40,000). Northern Michigan’s graduation rate for low-income students (38.5 percent) was below average for Michigan colleges and universities, as were the salaries earned by those low-income students 10 years after enrollment (less than $34,000 a year). For more details, see Five Ways to measure social mobility.

#20 (tie) Lake Superior State University / #22 (tie) Calvin College

Lake Superior State was comparatively cheap for low-income students (an average of $7,064 per year for families earning under $30,000), and four out of 10 students were low-income, but only 36 percent earned a degree. Nearly seven in 10 low-income students at Calvin College graduated, but high costs ($16,979) meant few low-income students made it to campus. For more details, see Five Ways to measure social mobility.

#22 (tie) Spring Arbor University / #24 Saginaw Valley State University

The gap between the earnings of students who entered Spring Arbor as low-income and high-income is one of the widest gaps in the state. Low-income students earned a median salary of $35,800 10 years after enrolling; high-income students had a median salary of $50,400. Saginaw Valley enrolled a high percentage of low-income students, but their eventual earnings were below average for low-income students at Michigan colleges and universities. For more details, see Five Ways to measure social mobility.

#25 Northwood University / #26 Schoolcraft College

Your wealthier classmates at Northwood are likely to stay wealthier – the gap between median salaries of low-income students and high-income students 10 years after enrollment was $16,500, about 40 percent. Schoolcraft was inexpensive to attend for low-income students (less than $3,000), but less than one in five earned a degree. For more details, see Five Ways to measure social mobility.

#27 Cornerstone University / #28 University of Detroit Mercy

The median salary of low-income students of Cornerstone 10 years after enrollment was $30,600. UD-Mercy low-income students earn more, but the cost of attendance (over $24,000) makes it a struggle. For more details, see Five Ways to measure social mobility.

#29 Lawrence Tech / #30 Davenport University

Low-income students of Lawrence Tech earned good money 10 years after enrollment ($49,200), but the high cost of attendance kept the percentage of low-income students low. Davenport had the highest percentage of low-income students among Michigan colleges and universities (52 percent), but high costs and low eventual salaries curbed social mobility. For more details, see Five Ways to measure social mobility.

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Comments

erfrank
Tue, 01/26/2016 - 9:43am
Where's Kalamazoo College?
Greg Gamalski
Tue, 01/26/2016 - 11:45am
Yeah, no Buzz for my Hornets? Really?
Mike Wilkinson
Tue, 01/26/2016 - 5:14pm
Hi, this is Mike from Bridge. Regarding Kalamazoo College, within the dataset from the College Scorecard, there was no data on average salaries for poor students from this school and many others.
Grace
Tue, 01/26/2016 - 11:42pm
I saw an article that showed wmu students at 10 years post graduation were making 10% more than Kalamazoo college students. Mostly because of degree choices. Wmu students had higher paying career choices like engineering, medical, etc than k college students
EB
Tue, 01/26/2016 - 12:59pm
I'm not a bit surprised that MSU students do well after graduation regardless of how poor they were when they attended. My kids, spouse and I graduated from State. We all knew kids that were well off, but many more who were not. The admission standards were fairly high, which probably helps the graduation rate. The professors didn't cut anyone any slack: you either did the work, or you didn't pass, which is probably a big reason why kids do well if they graduate. Student aid is fairly generous for low income students, which undoubtedly helps the graduation rate. Michigan has several fine schools, but when it comes to bang for the buck, State is up there with the best. And, they win a lot of football and basketball games.
Chris
Tue, 01/26/2016 - 7:25pm
Where are the Baker College campuses?
Tue, 01/26/2016 - 10:15pm
Where are Central, Western, Eastern etc?
Wed, 01/27/2016 - 3:54pm
Awesome that Adrian College is at #5...love this campus!
Karen
Wed, 02/03/2016 - 2:26pm
I have two kids graduating from Kalamazoo - one was offered a full time job last October to start as soon as he graduates with a very nice starting salary. The other has chosen to live and work abroad (biology major) . Kalamzoo has a high percentage of students that pursue masters/doctorates immediately after graduation as well- higher than ivy leagues. I don't think that the students who choose the hard sciences are earn less than those at WMU - but the ones doing poli sci, women's studies, will earn less by virtue of major pursued - true at any college or university