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WSSU highlighted as nation's top social mobility HBCU

Spring flowers at WSSU's clocktower

WSSU is one of only five universities in the nation that has consistently ranked among the top 20 schools on the SMI over the past five years.

Technology provider CollegeNET is saluting Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) as the top-ranked HBCU for social mobility.

In a recent news release, CollegeNET, creator of the Social Mobility Index (SMI), named WSSU and 11 other historically Black colleges and universities Social Mobility Innovators for 2019 for the work they do “that makes a real difference in the lives of low-income students.”

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“Most higher education rankings evaluate colleges and universities as if comparing brands for consumer purchase,” said CollegeNET CEO Jim Wolfston. “The SMI, on the other hand, helps policymakers, students and their families see which colleges and universities are doing the most to drive U.S. economic mobility. We hope the SMI encourages more institutions to embrace and expand their role as conduits for restoring the promise of the American Dream. The first step in doing this is to identify and learn from colleges and universities like these 12 HBCUs.”

WSSU is one of only five universities in the nation that has consistently ranked among the top 20 schools on the SMI over the past five years.

The article highlights how WSSU is working to remove the barriers to learning through the expansion of research opportunities and an effort to strengthen humanities through a $600,000 Andrew W. Mellon grant.

In the release, WSSU Chancellor Elwood L. Robinson said HBCUs have a long history of educating exceptionally promising students from under-resourced families.

“[HBCUs] have always provided a nurturing environment that allows students to build confidence and cultivate leadership skills,” Robinson said. “This has given HBCUs an advantage in narrowing the academic success gap and improving social mobility. At Winston-Salem State University, we are committed to producing graduates who are critical thinkers, analytical problem solvers, effective communicators and innovative and creative collaborators who can thrive in our rapidly evolving and complex world."

This is the third year CollegeNET has recognized WSSU with its Social Mobility Innovator Award.

MORE: Rankings show WSSU's commitment to placing graduates in high-paying jobs

The awards will be presented this summer at the annual Social Mobility Summit in Portland, Oregon.

Created in In 2014, the Social Mobility Index ranks U.S. colleges and universities according to how effectively they enroll students from low-income backgrounds and graduate them into promising careers.

 About Winston-Salem State University
Winston-Salem State University fosters the creative thinking, analytical problem-solving, and depth of character needed to transform the world. Rooted in liberal education, WSSU’s curriculum prepares students to be thought leaders who have the skills and knowledge needed to develop innovative solutions to complex problems. Founded in 1892, WSSU is a historically Black constituent institution of the University of North Carolina with a rich tradition of contributing to the social, cultural, intellectual, and economic growth of North Carolina, the region and beyond. Guided by the motto, “Enter to Learn, Depart to Serve,” WSSU develops leaders who advance social justice by serving the world with compassion and commitment. 

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