Thursday, May 30, 2024

UTSA jumps in national ranking for efforts to enhance students’ social mobility

UTSA jumps in national ranking for efforts to enhance students’ social mobility

NOVEMBER 6, 2023 — UTSA has been recognized for its ability to enhance students’ social mobility and provide a fulfilling college experience. UTSA ranked No. 217 out of 400 colleges and universities in the Wall Street Journal/College Pulse 2024 Best Colleges in the U.S. list.

At UTSA, we’ve worked diligently to make higher education affordable and accessible, particularly for students who have traditionally been underserved,” said UTSA President Taylor Eighmy. “We strive to be a model for student success and have been intentional in creating a career-engaged learning environment that prepares students to develop new knowledge, grow the workforce and create upward mobility for themselves, their families and the entire community.”

The 2024 ranking is a dramatic increase for UTSA, as the university was placed in the >600 bracket* just two years ago. UTSA’s jump is attributed, in part, to changes in how publications measure a university’s impact on students’ social mobility and success. Now, in addition to using traditional measurements like graduation rates, many publications consider students’ socioeconomic backgrounds, the percentage of the student body that is Pell Grant eligible and the cost of an education compared to post-graduation salaries.

“At UTSA, we’ve worked diligently to make higher education affordable and accessible, particularly for students who have traditionally been underserved.”

UTSA ranked No. 89 in social mobility among all ranked schools. The university was the third-highest among all UT System institutions, ranking below UT-El Paso (No. 20) and UT-Arlington (60) and above UT-Dallas (No. 98) and UT-Austin (No. 127). Additionally, UTSA was among the Top 10 public universities in the social mobility category.

UTSA also ranked No. 68 for best value on the WSJ/College Pulse lists. UTSA’s ranking in this category put it above all other UT System institutions, including UT-Austin (No. 71). UTSA also ranked higher than other major Texas universities, including Texas Tech University (No. 123) and Texas A&M – College Station (No. 145).

About 75% of UTSA undergraduates receive financial aid, and more than 11,000 undergraduates, or 45% of all students, receive federal Pell Grants each year. UTSA’s Bold Promise and Bold Scholars programs provide further intentional support to help students succeed, in addition to financial assistance and on-campus housing magnifying the transformative opportunity of higher education.

The program is funded by the UT System Promise Plus endowment and is supported by a $40 million donation from MacKenzie Scott, which has allowed it to expand and serve more students.

“We understand that our UTSA students bring their own unique values, competencies and lived experiences to the university,” said UTSA Interim Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Heather Shipley. “With that understanding, we can create impactful and effective services to support our students at every point of their academic journey. Regardless of where a student may first seek assistance, they’ll be connected to UTSA’s community of academic resources and assistance programs that helps them find the support they need.”

In the student experience category, WSJ/College Pulse ranked UTSA at No. 26. It placed first among UT System institutions and in the top five for all Texas public universities. To determine the student experience rank, WSJ/College Pulse measured student satisfaction scores for campus facilities, housing, extracurricular activities, emotional health and mental health support, campus safety, and how the university served students with disabilities, international students, and students from families with lower incomes.

UTSA’s focus on the student experience also contributed to the university’s rise in the rankings. WSJ/College Pulse worked with Statista, a data analytics group, to create a baseline among schools and compare graduate outcomes and student experiences.

Additionally, WSJ/College Pulse conducted one of the largest-ever surveys of college students and alumni. More than 60,000 respondents answered questions about student life on campus, the perception of a college’s learning opportunities and classroom-to-career preparation. 

Regarding salary impact, UTSA ranked nationally at No. 117. WSJ/College Pulse reports that a UTSA student, on average, will take only one year and five months to pay off the net price of their education. UTSA has committed to minimizing student debt, keeping college affordable and supporting need-based students so that it can offer a high-quality education at lower cost than other Texas universities.

Over the last decade, UTSA has made deliberate, strategic efforts to create a data-informed ecosystem of student support, which has allowed the institution to make dramatic improvements in key student success outcomes.

⇒ Read more about UTSA’s ranking in the 2024  News Best Colleges list
⇒ Read how Bold Scholars students are achieving academic success
⇒ Learn more about the UTSA Bold Advantage and classroom-to-career activities

For example, UTSA has been able to reduce the average time it takes for its students to graduate from 5.4 to 4.3 years. Today’s UTSA student graduates with $5,000 less in education-related loan debt on average compared to Roadrunner graduates 10 years ago. Additionally, earning a degree at UTSA adds more than $28,000 to a graduate’s salary, compared to the salaries of high school graduates in the San Antonio region. 

The WSJ/College Pulse survey is among several annual rankings lists that have begun to enhance its methodology to determine social mobility. For example, after U.S. News & World Report began to measure social mobility in its annual list, UTSA jumped 92 spots to No. 280 among all colleges and universities and No. 151 among public universities.

*Changes in the WSJ/College Pulse: Best Colleges in the U.S. methodology and other considerations impacted the number of schools ranked in the 2024 list compared to prior years.

Brett W. Copeland

UTSA Today is produced by University Strategic Communications,
the official news source
of The University of Texas at San Antonio.

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University of Texas at San Antonio receives ‘transformational’ $40M gift

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The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.

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To be a premier public research university, providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.

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We encourage an environment of dialogue and discovery, where integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation are fostered.

UTSA’S Destinations

UTSA is a proud Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) as designated by the U.S. Department of Education .

Our Commitment to Inclusivity

The University of Texas at San Antonio, a Hispanic Serving Institution situated in a global city that has been a crossroads of peoples and cultures for centuries, values diversity and inclusion in all aspects of university life. As an institution expressly founded to advance the education of Mexican Americans and other underserved communities, our university is committed to promoting access for all. UTSA, a premier public research university, fosters academic excellence through a community of dialogue, discovery and innovation that embraces the uniqueness of each voice.