By Gina Martinez
A Flushing-based aviation college topped the list of colleges across the country that help move students from poverty to prosperity.
A new study from the Equality of Opportunity called “Mobility Report Cards: The role of Colleges in Intergenerational Mobility” studied economic development among students in over 2,000 colleges across the country. Vaughn College in Flushing ranked No. 1 in upward mobility for students.
The college specializes in aviation and engineering and offers associate and bachelor’s degrees in Aviation, Management, Engineering and Engineering Technology. Vaughn also offers a master’s degree in Airport Management.
The school is located directly across LaGuardia Airport and has many industry connections, according to Maureen Kiggins, director of public affairs at Vaughn College. Kiggins said most students who graduate go into management or maintenance at the different airports in the area, including JFK and Newark.
The school credits a lot of its success to its student faculty ratio which is 14-to-1. Much of the faculty is made up of experts in their fields or are still currently working, which Kiggins said helps the school stay current and keep up with specific industry needs and deliver what students need to be employable.
The study was conducted by using millions of parental financial aid and tax filing records to track students from nearly every college in the country who were born between 1980 and 1991. The study then compared the students’ incomes after leaving college to how much their parents earned when the children started college.
According to the study, the median family income of a student from Vaughn College is $31,600, and 8.9 percent of students come from the top 20 percent. About 16 percent of students at Vaughn College came from a poor family but became a rich adult. The median income for a former Vaughn College student at age 34 is $53,000, according to the study.
“It’s very exciting because that ranking plays to our vision,” she said. “We have always taken many students from diverse backgrounds and who come from lower-income homes and raised them to a higher level. When the study came out and we were No 1, it just reinforced out mission, which is to make a transformational experience for our students.”
The college is proud to be able to help transform students’ lives.
“This was an independent study so we didn’t know it was going on,” Kiggins said. “We’re thrilled to be ranked as high as we were. I really do think were successful because it’s a small institution and everyone is really focused on students. We don’t just affect the student’s life, we affect the entire family when they succeed later in life after graduation.”
Vaughn College was not the only Queens- based college to make the list, Queens College and six other CUNY schools made the top 20 for colleges that help move poor students flourish economically, according to the study.
Reach Gina Martinez by e-mail at gmart