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Buffalo State Ranks in Top 40 of CollegeNET’s Social Mobility Index

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Buffalo State College has been recognized once again for its commitment to helping economically disadvantaged students become more upwardly mobile. Buffalo State ranked 35th out of 1,449 benchmarked colleges and universities in CollegeNET’s Social Mobility Index (SMI) 2020 assessment. 

The SMI, now in its seventh year, ranks four-year U.S. colleges and universities according to how effectively they enroll economically disadvantaged students and graduate them into well-paying jobs. In its first four years of inclusion in the index, Buffalo State rose 100 positions on the SMI, ranking 132nd in 2016, 102nd in 2017, 82nd in 2018, and 32nd in 2019. Buffalo State continues this year to be the highest-ranked four-year institution in Western New York on the list and the second highest among SUNY schools.

“This ranking speaks to the depth of our belief in our students and our faculty’s tireless work to help them achieve their dreams, graduate, and carve out fulfilling careers.”

- Katherine Conway-Turner, Ph.D., President of Buffalo State College

“Our SMI ranking reflects Buffalo State’s longstanding commitment to transforming the lives of students from all socioeconomic backgrounds,” said Buffalo State President Katherine Conway-Turner. “We know how powerful a college education is and how it can swiftly propel an individual from poverty into the middle and upper-middle class. This ranking speaks to the depth of our belief in our students and our faculty’s tireless work to help them achieve their dreams, graduate, and carve out fulfilling careers.”

Founded on the principle that growing economic disparity in this country is the most pressing problem of our time, the SMI seeks to redirect the attribution of “prestige” in the higher education system toward colleges that are advancing economic opportunity and social mobility. 

“Unlike other college rankings that are aimed primarily at helping students select a college, the SMI helps families and policymakers determine which colleges are addressing the national problem of economic mobility,” said CollegeNET President Jim Wolfston. “Administrators have a better chance to help strengthen U.S. economic mobility and the promise of the American Dream if they can identify and learn from colleges that are skilled at doing this.”

Buffalo State also scored high in two other rankings this fall measuring social mobility and affordability.

In its 2021 assessment of top performers on social mobility, U.S News and World Report ranked Buffalo State 16th out of 174 regional colleges and universities in the north.

And in Washington Monthly magazine’s Best Bang for the Buck: Northeast, Buffalo State placed among the list’s top 100, ranking 57th out of 397 four-year colleges and universities, making it the highest-ranked college in Western New York on the list. This is a compilation of colleges and universities that offer the most valuable and economically friendly degree programs.


Photo by Bruce Fox, Campus Photographer