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Brookings Institution Ranks CSU as “Best of the Best”

New study assesses universities’ impact on social mobility and generation of research

Improving lives. Expanding knowledge. The best colleges and universities excel at one or the other, and a very select few deliver outstanding results on both counts. A new national study ranks Cleveland State University among this elite group.

According to Ladders, Labs, or Laggards? Which Public Universities Contribute Most produced by the Brookings Institution, CSU ranked 18th in the nation among public universities that provide social mobility for their students and conduct vital research that benefits society. CSU is the only Ohio university ranked in the “Best of the Best” category, which included only 20 percent of the 342 universities studied.

“Universities act as ladders for social mobility, which makes for a more dynamic and fairer society,” the report says. “They are also laboratories for research, expanding our knowledge in directions that can improve the welfare of the broader population.”

Brookings researchers developed the ranking by assessing both the number of low income students attending the universities studied and the research expenditures of these institutions, as provided by the National Science Foundation.

CSU offers equal access to higher education to more low-income students, nearly 11 percent of its total enrollment, than any other Ohio public university. In addition, 34 percent of CSU students are the first members of their families to attended college.

And due to the unique educational environment at Cleveland State, these students have a significant advantage over their peers in achieving professional success. In fact, a previous Brookings report found that the mid-career salaries of Cleveland State University graduates are more than $10,000 higher than those of demographically comparable graduates from other higher education institutions.

When it comes to impactful research, CSU also excels. The Chronicle of Higher Education has ranked CSU No. 1 in the nation for increases in research expenditures, and the Carnegie Foundation for Advancement of Teaching has classified Cleveland State as a Doctoral University with Higher Research Activity.

“Promoting educational attainment for all and generating impactful research have been central tenants of CSU’s mission since its founding,” says CSU President Ronald M. Berkman. “We are honored to be recognized for these ongoing efforts to truly fulfill the mission of higher education.”

Read the Brookings report.