George Mason University ranks the highest among all Virginia colleges for the second year in a row for the social mobility of its students, according to a recently released 2019 survey by CollegeNet.
Nationally, Mason improved its ranking to 107 out of 1,458 four-year institutions examined according to CollegeNet’s Social Mobility Index. Last year Mason was ranked 131 in the nation.
Social mobility is a measure of the ability for students to move from one economic class to another. According to CollegeNet, Mason’s student body includes 16.7% students from low-income families. Students graduate with an average debt load of $29,516, but go on to make an average annual salary of almost $60,000 within five years of graduation.
“The ranking is an acknowledgement of a long history of student success at Mason,” said David Burge, vice president for enrollment management. “Mason has always prided itself on finding talent wherever it lies and helping our students find great careers and great lives after they leave Mason.”
This is the sixth year CollegeNet has issued its rankings. According to its website, it uses five variables in its methodology: published tuition, percent of student body with families with incomes below $48K, graduation rate, median salary about five years after graduation, and endowment.
The ranking highlights Mason’s commitment to access to excellence. About 39% of Mason students are the first in their families to go to college, and 33% are Pell Grant eligible.