A New Mobility Report Card for Colleges
There used to be a casual assumption in American culture that kids would grow up and earn more than their parents. For the leading-edge baby boomers born in the 1940s, this was almost a certainty. But the last few generations haven’t had the same upward mobility, and Brown University economist John Friedman wanted to figure out why.
“By the time you get to when I was born in 1980, only 50 percent of kids earn more than their parents do,” Friedman recently told American Public Media.
He decided to dig into the the core reasons for the slowing of upward mobility, focusing, in part, on higher education. Along with with economists Nathaniel Hendren at Harvard and Raj Chetty at Stanford, Friedman started the Equality of Opportunity Project, where they catalogued millions of financial aid records and anonymous tax forms for students who went to college from 1999 to 2013.
The data they uncovered was used to create a mobility report card for every college. They factored the ratings by calculating the percentage of students who come from the lowest income families (the bottom 20 percent of the income distribution) and make it to the top (the highest 20 percent). You can check out your alma mater here to see where they rank.
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