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Clearing the way: UWG recognized for efforts in social mobility

Social mobility is defined as the movement of individuals, families, households or other categories of people within or between social strata in a society, and the Social Mobility Index measures the extent to which a college or university educates more economically disadvantaged students (with family incomes below the national median) at lower tuition and graduates them into good paying jobs.

The University of West Georgia prides itself on putting students first. When economically disadvantaged prospective students are in need of financial assistance in order to attend the university, the Pack comes together to make sure those needs are met.

Because of these efforts, U.S. News & World Report has recognized UWG for its success in social mobility. UWG has been ranked 48th in the country and second in Georgia among Top Performers in Social Mobility.

Social mobility is defined by U.S. News as the movement of individuals, families, households or other categories of people within or between social strata in a society, and the Social Mobility Index (SMI) measures the extent to which a college or university educates more economically disadvantaged students (with family incomes below the national median) at lower tuition and graduates them into good paying jobs.

Statistically, financially challenged students are less likely than others to finish college, but UWG has proven more successful than other universities at advancing social mobility by enrolling and graduating large proportions of disadvantaged students, awarding them with Federal Pell Grants. Students who demonstrate exceptional financial need are eligible for the grants.

Dr. André L. Fortune, vice president for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, said the recognition is a great honor and that it is an unequivocal reflection of the university’s outstanding work toward aiding the betterment of society.

“We couldn’t be more proud of this notable distinction,” Fortune said. “Access to higher education is one of the key factors in propelling youth toward upward mobility, and affordability by way of access to a high number of Pell Grants sets UWG apart from other universities. Once enrolled, students gain great value through their experiences here. Transforming lives is the foundation of our work.”

Dr. David Jenks, interim provost and vice president for academic affairs, said he personally relates to students who are in need of financial assistance and is elated that UWG has been bestowed such a distinguished honor.

“This is incredible news,” Jenks said. “UWG is well-positioned to serve students across the economic spectrum and has worked diligently to ensure every student, regardless of economic status, has the ability to succeed in their educational pursuits. This ranking highlights our commitment to students who face economic challenges, in large part due to the faculty and staff’s dedication to helping all those who join our Pack. As a former Pell-eligible student, I could not be more proud of this ranking.”

By: Sam Gentry

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