A graduate earns their degree at Commencement.

Hamline Earns Top-Tier National Ranking For Economic Mobility

Hamline University is a top-ranked university in the nation when measuring the economic value of undergraduate degrees, according to the Economic Mobility Index published by national research institute Third Way.

Hamline is one of only four universities throughout Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and the Dakotas that rate within the top 20% for economic mobility, and is Minnesota’s only nonprofit private institution among that group.

“Third Way’s research confirms something that we have long believed at Hamline – that our education delivers tremendous value to our students and unlocks earned opportunities they’ll seldom find elsewhere,” President Fayneese Miller said.

Unlike traditional college rankings – which prioritize selectivity and test scores – the Economic Mobility Index places value on how well institutions serve their low-income students in addition to the proportion of low- and moderate-income students a school enrolls, according to Third Way.

“This ranking exemplifies the benefit a Hamline education has for our students, especially those who are low and middle income, and speaks to our belief that everyone should have access to a quality education and that education is the most important vehicle to transform lives and communities,” said Lisa Nordeen, assistant provost for student success.

The core of the index is the price to earnings premium, which compares the price students pay out-of-pocket for tuition to the earnings boost they obtain by attending an institution. The earnings boost or premium is defined as the amount of money students are earning more than the average high school graduate in the state their institution is located.

"(Hamline) students have a substantial earnings boost in comparison to the average high school graduate," said Michael Itzkowitz, a senior fellow at Third Way.

Another important factor, Itzkowitz said, is whether or not an institution is enrolling low- and moderate-income students, specifically Pell Grant recipients.

"About 37% of (Hamline's) student population, according to the data I pulled, are Pell Grant recipients – which is pretty phenomenal considering the outcomes,” Itzkowitz said.

Out of the 1,320 institutions studied, Hamline ranks 135th, while some of the nation’s most prestigious universities, like Harvard and Yale, rank 847th and 495th, respectively.

"Typical and more popular news publications usually reward the most well-resourced, most-exclusive schools in the nation that 99% of people never apply to,” Itzkowitz said. “This is really for the 99% of people that don't apply to Harvard and it shows them how much schools are delivering on the real promise of education, which is to leave this generation better off than the previous one.”

Data for the Economic Mobility Index is sourced from the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard.