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ASU moves up in list of schools that give back to society

December 20, 2011

Arizona State University is becoming more service-oriented and more dedicated to student accessibility, according to a new ranking by Washington Monthly magazine. ASU moved up almost 30 spots in the magazine’s annual ranking, which focuses on what universities give back to society.

Washington Monthly rates schools using three criteria: 1) social mobility (recruiting and graduating low-income students), 2) research (producing cutting-edge scholarship and PhDs), and 3) service (encouraging students to give something back to their country).

ASU moved to the 132 spot, up from 161 in 2010.

“Colleges should be judged not just on who they enroll and how many graduate, but on what students do with their lives after they leave,” said the editors. “Instead of asking what a college could do for you, we asked, ‘What are colleges doing for the country?

“Colleges and universities conduct cutting-edge research that drives economic growth, provide upward mobility to people of humble birth and mold the characters of tomorrow’s leaders. We devised a way to measure how well individual colleges and universities were meeting their public obligations in the areas of research, service and social mobility.”

One of the factors used to assess whether the institution is enhancing social mobility is the percentage of students receiving a federal, need-based Pell grant. ASU has focused on making higher education more accessible over the last decade, increasing financial aid, improving freshman persistence and enhancing transfer agreements with community colleges.

The research category looks at the number of dollars in total research expenditures, and the number of bachelor’s recipients who go on to receive doctorates.

Service is evaluated by the number of students who go on to serve in the Peace Corps and those who serve in ROTC, among other factors. ASU scored particularly well in the area of community service: the number of staff supporting community service and the number of academic courses that incorporate service, relative to school size, and the provision of scholarships for community service.