TU ranks as top performer on social mobility

By Rebecca Kirkman on September 20, 2020

University jumps 25 spots in "U.S. News & World Report" 2021 social mobility rankings

Lamp posts with TU banners line walkway

In addition to naming Towson University one of the best public universities in the country, the newest “U.S. News & World Report” 2021 Best Colleges rankings highlight the university’s success in advancing social mobility.

Compared to last year, TU jumped 25 spots in the publication’s list of “Top Performers on Social Mobility” to No. 161. The ranking focuses on schools with a larger federal Pell Grant recipient pool. Students at TU who are recipients of Pell Grants achieve nearly the same graduation success as the entire student body.

"Towson University's ability to create opportunities for students is a differentiator. This recognition is evidence of our commitment and success in creating an academic and learning environment that supports all our students to thrive inclusively,” says President Kim Schatzel. “With access to research and technology, through rigorous academic programming facilitated by world-renowned faculty, and within an environment that promotes engagement and inclusivity, all alongside its standing as an anchor institution for greater Baltimore, TU is Maryland's university of opportunities."

Melanie Perreault, provost and executive vice president for academic and student affairs, points to the transformative power of education.

“This ranking confirms what we’ve known all along—that TU stands as an institution for the public good,” Perreault says.

She adds that supporting students from all socioeconomic backgrounds lifts the entire community.

“Research shows the impact is generational. The success of first-generation students gets transferred to their children and their children’s children,” she says. “It’s an exponential impact.”

TU supports first-generation, low-income and culturally diverse students by encouraging their academic achievement, personal development and campus involvement through academic and student success resources and programs.

Additionally, Perreault credits the faculty—many of whom were first-generation college graduates—for their dedication to student mentorship.

The Center for Student Diversity, part of the Office of Inclusion and Institutional Equity, supports the access and academic success of historically under-represented groups through programs and services that enhance the student experience.

“TU has an amazing inclusive community with supportive programs led by staff, faculty and administrators who care about diversity and inclusion,” says Leah Cox, vice president of inclusion and institutional equity. “This effort to create an inclusive environment has helped our students feel a sense of belonging, which ultimately translates into success.”

In the Students Achieve Goals through Education (SAGE) program, participants develop a relationship with a peer mentor and participate in activities that help them grow academically, socially and professionally.

“I chose Towson University because of SAGE,” says Kiam Preston ’19, a Baltimore City native and molecular biology, biochemistry and bioinformatics major who served as a mentee and mentor in the program. “This support system is something I didn’t know that I needed as much as I did.”

Other resources include the Generation One program, which provides first-generation college students with tailored mentoring and guidance to foster both academic and personal accomplishment, while the Tutoring and Learning Center and Writing Center give students necessary tools for academic achievement.

“U.S. News & World Report” isn’t the only publication to highlight the university’s success in this area. Earlier this month, Washington Monthly ranked Towson University as No. 31 in the subcategory of social mobility.

Praise through rankings has been constant for TU in the past month.

  • “Money” magazine ranked Towson University 107th on its 2019 Best Colleges for Your Money list, where TU again joined the University of Maryland–College Park and Johns Hopkins University as Maryland’s highest-ranked institutions. 
  • Princeton Review included TU among the 224 colleges selected for its 2021 Best Regional Colleges for the Best Northeastern category. 
  • “Washington Monthly” ranked Towson University No. 30 among national public universities and No. 55 among all national universities in its 2020 College Rankings. Towson University was also recognized as No. 31 in the subcategory of social mobility and one of just nine institutions in the nation with a student voter registration rate higher than 85%. 

This story is one of several related to President Kim Schatzel’s priorities for Towson University: Diverse and Inclusive Campus.