North Carolina A&T State University is Named CollegeNET Social Mobility Innovator for 2017

 CollegeNET, Inc., a leading provider of web-based on-demand technologies for higher education and the creator of the Social Mobility Index (SMI), a data-driven system that ranks 4-year U.S. colleges and universities according to how effectively they enroll students from low-income backgrounds and graduate them into promising careers, today announced that North Carolina A&T State University has been selected as the seventh of 10 Social Mobility Innovators for 2017, as reported on

The goal of the SMI — now in its third year — is to help redirect the attribution of “prestige” in our higher education system toward colleges and universities that are advancing economic opportunity, the most pressing issue of our time.

The largest public HBCU (Historically Black College and University) in the U.S., N.C. A&T produces the most African-American psychology undergraduates in the nation as well as the most African-American engineers at the undergraduate, master’s and doctoral levels. Through its College of Business and Economics, the school is also among the largest producers of African-American certified public accountants. N.C. A&T has ranked among the top 20 schools on CollegeNET’s Social Mobility Index (SMI) for three consecutive years (2014-2016), moving up from #13 on the list in 2014 to #2 in 2016.

“Most higher education rankings approach the problem of comparing colleges and universities as steering consumers toward a brand or purchase,” says Jim Wolfston, CEO of CollegeNET. “The SMI, on the other hand, helps policymakers, students and their families see which colleges and universities are addressing the national problem of economic mobility. Administrators in higher education will be more effective in strengthening U.S. economic mobility and restoring the promise of the American Dream if they can identify and learn from colleges and universities like N.C. A&T that are already skilled at doing this.”

Moving Students Forward to Graduation

N.C. A&T was selected as a CollegeNET Social Mobility Innovator for 2017 because it has adopted a number of significant policies and programs designed to reduce time-to-degree and keep students moving forward to graduation. Students at the school are now allowed to repeat no more than 16 credit hours during their undergraduate careers, for example. At the same time, N.C. A&T has reduced the number of credit hours required for graduation in some programs from 127-133 to 120-122. And, inspired by the regular academic monitoring that NCAA athletes must undergo to retain their collegiate eligibility, more than half of N.C. A&T’s faculty also participate in an early-alert initiative that helps identify students who may be stumbling in their course-work.

“We have a top-to-bottom passion when it comes to student success,” says Dr. Regina Williams Davis, Assistant Provost for Student Success and Academic Support at N.C. A&T. “Our chancellor, Dr. Harold L. Martin, Sr., has driven this conversation, and it’s much more than talk for us. It’s a real priority on our campus. When we accept students from varying socioeconomic backgrounds, it’s our responsibility to help them navigate through to graduation.”

N.C. A&T has embraced data to help shape and drive its strategic decisions in the area of student success.  “We’re getting stronger and stronger in data,” explains Davis. “It helps us understand our students much better, and it guides us in helping them achieve success, too.”

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