ULV recognized nationally for social mobility

Taylor Moore
LV Life Editor

The University of La Verne is among the very best colleges in the nation when it comes to social mobility, which is marked by movement in education, class and socioeconomic status.

The U.S. News and World Report’s 2022 Best College rankings released last month placed the University in the top ranking among private universities and seventh among all national universities for social mobility of students. 

The annual report also ranked ULV no. 66 in best value and 136 overall among 391 national universities. In the best value category, the University has risen six places since 2020. 

“To be ranked (so high) nationally is pretty significant,” said Juan Regalado, chief student affairs officer. “We created a culture where our students, who come from disadvantaged backgrounds, can succeed. 

“It speaks to us fulfilling that portion of higher education, to better people’s lives.” 

Rod Leveque, associate vice president of strategic communications, said that what makes ULV so unique among other universities is how accessible the University is to high school students. Most high school students do not consider private universities because of the expense, but part of the University’s operating budget is to pay about $50 million in scholarships to support students so they can succeed, Leveque said adding that ULV allows access to students of all economic and ethnic backgrounds

Regalado said what he likes about the US News ranking is that it puts an emphasis on the purpose of admission to higher education, and puts into focus what truly matters: helping students thrive personally and academically. 

“We’ve gotten to a point in our country where access to higher education is really difficult for many students, for people from different backgrounds and socioeconomic standings,” said Roy Kwon, assistant provost and associate professor of sociology. “(ULV) is accepting students from a wide variety of backgrounds, and we’re successful in making sure those students graduate and live a good life.” 

The US News ranking looks at the number of Cal Grants given to students who attend the University with family incomes of $50,000 or less. 

Leveque said that the ranking looks at what percentage of students entering the University are Cal Grant recipients with lower income and what is the success rate of the University in graduating those students to attain good jobs and serve communities after graduation.

“(The ranking) is a testament to the great work of the University, but really speaks more to our students,” Leveque said. 

Kwon said that the general U.S. News rankings also take into consideration universities’ endowments or how much money they receive. 

But the social mobility ranking is the only one that matters, since it proves that a college is living by its mission and focus, Kwon said.

“Nothing brings me more joy than to think that we’re part of an organization that truly makes it possible for students to lead better lives,” Kwon said. 

Half of ULV students are so-called first generation college students, or the first in their families to attend college, which means they do not always have family at home to tell them how to navigate the transition to college. 

Leveque said that a benefit of a small university such as ours, is that the staff and faculty get to know you on a personal level and provide assistance, which contributes to the University’s success. 

“For me, a University’s job is to support students, to recruit, to help them be successful during their academic career at the University, and be socially mobile after graduation so that they acquire jobs and professions related to the skills they learned here,” University President Devorah Lieberman said. 

Lieberman said that she is delighted that the U.S. News and World Report Best College ranking has this social mobility category that is focused on student success because that is what should be driving every university. 

“For us, in the entire country, to have that ranking fulfills what I believe is the purpose, the mission, and the role of a university,” she said. “ULV, in particular, because our mission is to create a learning environment where every student says, ‘This is where I belong and this is where I can succeed.’” 

Lieberman said that the ranking is not what is most important, because if the ranking did not exist, ULV should still be that institution that focuses on belonging and student success, not for recognition, but because it is the right thing to do. 

Taylor Moore can be reached at taylor.moore@laverne.edu

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Taylor Moore is a senior broadcast journalism major and Campus Times social media editor for Fall 2023. In her fifth semester on Campus Times, this is her second time serving as social media editor. She has also served as LV Life editor and staff writer.


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