Income mobility: A March Madness bracket where Georgetown wins

The 74 recently published its fifth annual Social Mobility Tournament results, showing how the 2021 NCAA men’s basketball tournament bracket would play out if the competition were about how well schools increased students’ economic opportunity. “If March Madness were about moving students up the economic ladder, research says we’d all be celebrating Georgetown,” the publication declared.

Hoping to highlight colleges that “place their most disadvantaged students on the road to family-sustaining earnings,” The 74 analyzed income information from the Harvard-based Opportunity Insights dataset. Each school was assigned a mobility rate representing the proportion of its low-income students (those born to parents in the bottom 40 percent of income distribution) who had climbed to the top 40 percent of family income distribution by their early 30s.

Strong contenders

Schools that performed well in the analysis are “putting low-income students on the path to a life-transforming future of financial well-being,” The 74 writes. The publication estimates that schools in the 2021 Social Mobility “Sweet Sixteen” collectively moved nearly 26,500 of their 33,200 enrolled low-income students into the top 40 percent of households, based on income.

This year’s Social Mobility Final Four includes Georgetown University, Georgia Tech University, Villanova University, and Drake University. Georgetown took the top spot, vaulting 76 percent of its low-income students to significantly higher earnings.

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