Xavier #1 in Upward Mobility According to Report

xavier#1 in social mobility

According to a report released on Thursday by the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) using data from Opportunity Insights, a research institute based at Harvard University, the most successful Historically Black College and University (HBCU) in terms of upward mobility is Xavier University of Louisiana. The study of social mobility outcomes showed that HBCUs help more than twice as many students rise from the bottom 40% of income earners to the top 60% category.


The report, entitled “HBCUs Transforming Generations: Social Mobility for HBCU Alumni,” provides an “in-depth review of the Move into Middle Class+ mobility rate and its efficiency as a measure of social mobility for Black students at HBCUs.” It found that Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) are remarkably successful at supporting social mobility among their students.

Social mobility, or the movement of individuals, families, or communities/groups through a social hierarchy or stratification system, has become a primary measure for understanding the return on investment for college students and their families. Many HBCU students are economically disadvantaged due to socioeconomic disparities and intersectional disenfranchisement of wealth and resources. Nearly half of HBCU students are first-generation students, and the majority of students who attend HBCUs are Pell-grant eligible.


The success rate the UNCF used in their Move into Middle Class+ mobility rate is defined as the fraction of students from the bottom two quintiles that earn their way into the top three quintiles, which is also referred to as the top 60% of the income distribution. Institutions with high success rates are the most successful at moving students from the lowest socioeconomic tiers to a higher tier. Xavier’s success rate was calculated at 78.9%.


Xavier’s success rate puts it on par with Ivy Plus Institutions such as Yale University and Columbia University of New York. The top 10 HBCUs with the highest success rate were all above the national average, which means that even though HBCUs serve more economically disenfranchised students than most U.S. institutions, they also facilitate upward mobility for the majority of their students.

Read the full report here.