NY Times: UF No. 6 among colleges doing the most for the American Dream

May 25, 2017
Steve Orlando

The University of Florida is once again one of the best schools in the country -- public or private -- at helping low-income students get a college education, according to the New York Times third annual College Access Index released today.

UF ranked No. 6 – the same spot it held in 2015 -- and is the only public university in Florida to make the list. The University of Miami was ranked 162nd. The top five schools are University of California institutions with UC-Irvine taking the top spot and UCLA listed at fifth.

The ranking of colleges — those with a five-year graduation rate of at least 75 percent — is based on their commitment to economic diversity and on a combination of the number of low- and middle-income students that a college enrolls and the price it charges these students, according to the Times.

The complete rankings can be found here.

The annual rankings are created using the following:

Pell grad share for each college is the average share of the freshman class that received a Pell grant in 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16, multiplied by the graduation rate for recent Pell recipients.  Later years count more; not all colleges released 2015-16 data. Graduation rates for Pell students at some colleges are estimated.

Net price for middle-income students covers tuition, fees, room and board, after taking into account federal, state and institutional financial aid, and it applies to students who come from households earning between $48,000 and $75,000 a year and qualifying for federal aid. Loans and wages from work-study jobs are counted in the net price as part of the students’ cost.

The College Access Index is a combination of a colleges’ Pell graduates and net price, compared with the average school. (The index is based on the net price for both the $48,000-to-$75,000 income range and the $30,000-to-$48,000 income range.) A college with an average score on the two measures in combination will receive a one. Scores above one indicate the most effort.

Endowment per student is for the year 2012-13 and includes graduate students.

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