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Wofford among NYT’s ‘Top Colleges Doing Most for American Dream’

College Access Index ranks most economically diverse institutions

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2017-05-30

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – For the third consecutive year – as long as the ranking has existed – Wofford College has been named to the New York Times’ College Access Index, a ranking of the most economically diverse colleges in the country labeling them the “Top Colleges Doing the Most for the American Dream.”

Wofford ranks at #103 on the list of 171 public and private colleges and universities, which is based on the institutions’ commitment to economic diversity among its students. Wofford is one of only three South Carolina institutions on the list; Clemson University (#73) and Furman University (#142) also are ranked.

“Access, quality and completion are among the key issues that concern families when it comes to higher education, and Wofford has shown time and again that it is among the leaders in addressing those concerns,” says Wofford President Nayef H. Samhat. “Wofford continues to be among the most prestigious colleges and universities in the country on these key issues, and our extraordinary and transformational educational experience is accessible and socio-economically diverse, and we graduate superior students on time.”

To measure the efforts of top quality colleges and universities on economic diversity, the New York Times’ David Leonhardt, in his The Upshot blog, created the College Access Index, which bases the ranking on “a combination of the number of lower- and middle-income students that a college enrolls and the price it charges these students.” He looks at the share of students who receive Pell Grants; those families typically make less than $70,000.

“The Pell and overall (graduation rates) were strikingly similar on the whole, which is good news,” Leonhardt writes. “Lower-income students who enroll at most top colleges graduate at almost the same rate as upper-income students.”

“Wofford takes great pride in its work to attract Pell Grant-eligible students by offering institutional need-based and merit aid as well as other federal and state funds,” says Carolyn B. Sparks, director of financial aid. “Our financial aid plan encompasses other areas of diversity as well, such as geographic, ethnic and racial, and international.”