National report: UNO helps students rise from poverty

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NEW ORLEANS – A new report comparing colleges across the nation praises the University of New Orleans for doing more than most colleges to give low- income students a “ladder” to climb out of poverty.

Based on data from 342 public universities, the Brookings Institution, a nonprofit public policy organization based in Washington, D.C.,  ranks UNO  third on its list of colleges that enroll the most students from families with the lowest level of income.

According to the report, 16.6 percent of students at UNO come from families in that low-income group– only the University of Texas at El Paso and New Mexico State University have a higher proportion of those students than UNO.

The report’s authors collected the data to find out which public universities contribute the most to helping students get out of poverty — and in doing so, give the best return on taxpayers’ dollars.

“Why are taxpayers asked to subsidize post-secondary education?” the report asks, and one answer the authors offer is that “universities act as ladders for social mobility, which makes for a more dynamic and fairer society.”

The authors argue that universities that don’t offer many students a way out poverty “have a weaker claim on the public purse.”

“A degree from UNO has the ability to transform lives,” says UNO President John Nicklow, “and it’s thrilling to receive this kind of national validation.”

UNO also claims a six-year record of making U.S. News & World Report’s least debt list, which highlights the 20 national universities where students graduate with the lowest average debt.

You can read the Brookings Institution report here:   “Ladder, labs or laggards? Which public universities contribute the most.”