ICYMI: NJIT top ranked in the nation for student economic upward mobility
by Andaiye Taylor/February 26, 2017
According to a recent ranking, New Jersey Institute of Technology is one of the top colleges in the nation in terms of its ability to increase the economic standing of its graduates.
The honor was conferred by The Equality of Opportunity Project and highlighted in a New York Times op-ed by columnist David Leonhardt. In it, Leonhardt laments that the “heyday of the colleges that serve America’s working class can often feel very long ago,” citing the struggles of institutions like City University of New York and the California state university system, in terms of both budgets and the preparedness of the students themselves for higher education.
Still, Leonhardt wrote, some accessible universities are bucking that narrative: “They remain deeply impressive institutions that continue to push many Americans into the middle class and beyond — many more, in fact, than elite colleges that receive far more attention,” he writes.
Enter NJIT. According to the study, among universities with 500 or more students enrolled per class and at least 10 percent of students coming from families in the bottom fifth in terms of yearly earnings, NJIT ranks first when it comes to helping those students emerge in the top three fifths of income distribution.
A full 85 percent of its poor students are seeing better economic outcomes after graduating from the university.
A deeper dive into the study data reveals that NJIT is also one of the very best selective public universities in the country at helping its poor students become out-and-out rich– defined as earning in the top fifth of income distribution. Only one other such university in the entire country, California Maritime University, produces that result more frequently than NJIT.
In terms of raw earnings, NJIT also produces top results. Graduates’ median income by age 34 is $71,600, making it third out of 49 colleges in New Jersey–ranked behind only Stevens Institute and Princeton, and fifth out of 369 selective public colleges nationwide.
In a statement responding to the study, NJIT President Joel S. Bloom said, “We specialize in preparing hardworking, high achieving students for an economy that is driven by technology and innovation. The proof of this is that our students graduate with an average of nearly three job offers and starting salaries almost 20 percent above the national average.”
NJIT is part of the network of institutions that comprise the Newark City of Learning Collaborative (NCLC), an initiative whose goal is to increase the percentage of residents with postsecondary degrees, certificates, and high-quality credentials to from 17 percent to 25 percent by the year 2025. Prongs of that program include attracting and retaining more degree holders, and also “growing” them by increasing the pipeline of Newark natives who graduate from high school and attend and graduate from secondary programs in town.
In 2015, NJIT received $40,000 of a $1.5 million grant from the Foundation for Newark’s Future to help the institution fund NCLC Scholars at NJIT, an initiative that provides academic counseling, instruction and mentorship to Newark high school juniors already attending NJIT’s pre-college programs, and who plan to pursue of baccalaureate degrees in STEM-related majors.
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