~ By Tom Uribes, reprinted from FresnoStateNews.com

Imagine an America in which only the wealthy and elite could afford an education. How many powerful minds would go unnoticed? What would America’s future be like?

That’s something that Fresno State cares about. The university is closing the gap that keeps students from having access to fundamental education, according to a recent study.

Fresno State was ranked No. 3 among the top universities in the country that help low-income students find financial success, according to a recent ranking the “2017 Social Mobility Index” (SMI).

Developed by PayScale and CollegeNET, the index measures the extent to which a college or university educates more economically disadvantaged students at lower tuition, so they can graduate and obtain good paying jobs.

The index used five criteria for their ranking: tuition cost, the percentage of students from low-income households, graduation rates, salaries of graduates and the size of a school’s endowment. Data was collected through third-party sources such as Payscale, Inc. and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

According to the study, the goal of the SMI index is “to comparatively assess the role of the higher education system by providing a conduit for economic and social advancement.”

“We are pleased to be ranked Number 3 in the nation in 2017 Social Mobility Index,” said President, Joseph I. Castro. “This is additional evidence that talent exists in every household in the Valley and when our students are provided with a high-quality education at an affordable price, they can succeed and become part of the next generation of leaders.  Fresno State’s academic and athletic programs continue to boldly rise together.”

All 23 California State University campuses were ranked in the top quartile of the 1,363 schools listed with San Jose (No. 4), Long Beach (No. 5) Cal Poly Pomona (No.6)  and Chico (No. 8) joining Fresno State in the top 10.

The ranking continues a streak of national recognition for Fresno State, including high rankings by the Washington Monthly (No. 17 among top national universities), U.S. News and World Report (among top three best public universities in graduation rate performance nationwide) and The American Association of State Colleges and Universities’ Excellence and Innovation Award.

See the complete 2016 SMI rankings.