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NMSU ranks second as a leader for acting as both a ladder for social mobility and laboratory for research. Of the universities considered, NMSU, as a leader, is among only 20 percent of the universities accomplished in both categories. | Photo courtesy NMSU

NMSU Receives Second-Highest Score in Nation as Leader in Equal Access to Higher Education

In a recent report from the Brookings Institution, New Mexico State University was listed as a leader in equal access to higher education.

The report gave NMSU the second-highest score in the nation as a public university that provides opportunities for social mobility to students and produces valuable research.

Helping students achieve their goals starts when graduates first arrive at NMSU.

Kaylene Womack, as a first-generation college student and teenage mom when she enrolled at NMSU, was determined not to become a statistic. She encourages other students not to give up when times are difficult.

“It’s not going to be easy. You’ll go through hurdles every semester, every year, but keep pushing forward and know what your end goal is,” she said. “The end goal is to get that degree and be a role model for younger siblings and cousins to show them it is possible. Being that leader within your family is huge, so keep pushing forward.”

An NMSU Daniels Fund Scholar, Womack said she found a caring community on campus to help achieve her goal of becoming a teacher, and she credits Tony Marin, Michelle Saenz-Adames and Terry Cook from the student success center as mentors. A 2016 graduate, Womack now teaches kindergarten at Hillrise Elementary in Las Cruces.

In the Brookings report, “Ladders, labs, or laggards? Which public universities contribute most” by Dimitrios Halikias and Richard V. Reeves, the pair evaluated 342 of the nation’s selective public four-year universities “using newly-available tax data from the Equality of Opportunity Project at Stanford to gauge mobility and an independent ranking from the Carnegie Foundation to assess research activity – to determine which universities are ladders or labs, and which universities are laggards less deserving of public funding.” Private universities, historically black colleges and universities, public liberal arts colleges and military-oriented institutions were not considered.

NMSU ranks second as a leader for acting as both a ladder for social mobility and laboratory for research. Of the universities considered, NMSU, as a leader, is among only 20 percent of the universities accomplished in both categories.

Among the top 25 universities selected as leaders, NMSU surpassed the University of New Mexico, University of Houston system, University of California Riverside, University of Texas San Antonio, University of California Irvine, University of South Florida, Binghamton University, University of Texas Arlington and others.

NMSU is considered a ladder for promoting social mobility by helping low-income students achieve higher levels on the income ladder following graduation. Nearly 18 percent of NMSU students come from the bottom 20 percent income bracket.

“I was absolutely delighted to receive the Brookings report, which indicated New Mexico State University is not only a great science university, but is also paying attention to upward mobility,” said NMSU Chancellor Garrey Carruthers. “It’s very important to our state to have good science, but we also have a number of students who we can move up through our process and make their quality of life much finer through a quality education. We’re very proud of our standing as number 2 in the country.”

To read the complete report, click HERE

Author:  Tiffany Acosta – NMSU

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