The Greater Philadelphia 2020 College Rankings
Keywords:Greater Philadelphia, Philadelphia, college rankings, value, affordability, social mobility, students, administrators, educators, opportunity
The current global pandemic has shifted the landscape for nearly every sector imaginable. We have heard the phrase “new normal” ad nauseam, without any concrete concept of what this state of modern normalcy actually resembles. Our pre-coronavirus (COIVD-19) economic structures, political landscapes, and business models have all been thrown into flux and in response we are all adapting to a new normal. Academic institutions also are beginning to shift their models, if not reimagine these models in entirety amid COVID-19.
When the Social Innovations Journal first published our “Greater Philadelphia College Rankings” in 2018, we sought to nudge the higher education conversation towards an increasingly elusive topic: value. What institutions best help students move up the economic ladder? Which schools provide the greatest return on investment? Which schools are particularly effective at taking students facing the most disadvantages and support their climb to the highest rungs of societal achievement?
By the directive of our advisory board, we focused our 2020 Greater Philadelphia Social Innovations Awards in the Higher Education Category around Social Mobility. While our ranking criteria and methodology remains largely the same from 2018, our world has shifted considerably since that time. Although we updated our key indicators for 2020, the institutions that strategically focused on social mobility in 2018 remain rock steady and still rank high in that category, serving as a model for other institutions looking to survive societal turbulence and remain steadfast in their commitment to demonstrate unparalleled value to students. Years, not months, are required to place social mobility, racial equity, and long-term economic returns for students at the core of a college, university, or trade school’s mission. These institutions are driven by these goals and serve as a hopeful horizon for any academic leader, trustee, alumnus, student, or parent seeking to chart a new path forward for the higher education journey of students.
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