By Philip Walzer

Old Dominion University has been awarded the No. 1 ranking in Virginia in a new Economic Mobility Index created by the public policy think tank Third Way. ODU was also listed in the top tier of universities across the country.

"To assess the degree of economic mobility that institutions of higher education provide," Third Way said, "we examined which schools enroll the highest proportion of students from low and moderate backgrounds AND provide them with a strong return on their educational investment."

The think tank developed a metric that it said, "looks at the time it takes students to recoup their educational costs based off the earnings boost they obtain by attending an institution."

Don Stansberry, ODU's vice president for student engagement and enrollment services, said, "Our top Virginia ranking in the new Economic Mobility Index is the latest confirmation of Old Dominion's firm commitment to ensuring that every student has the resources to succeed. That success will have a transformative effect on society, opening up new opportunities for future generations."

Austin Agho, the University's provost and vice president for academic affairs, said, "Old Dominion's longstanding interest in social mobility mirrors our dedication to maintaining affordability and access. We continue to provide a pathway to a bachelor's degree for all promising students. Last fall, 46 percent of our entering freshmen were the first in their families to attend college."

In addition, most ODU students receive financial aid, and 38 percent are awarded Pell Grants - more than at any other public doctoral institution in Virginia.

Old Dominion was also ranked No. 1 in Virginia in CollegeNet's Social Mobility Index and is classified as a "top performer" on social mobility by U.S. News & World Report.

In 2018, the University opened the Center for Social Mobility, which holds annual symposiums and serves as a resource for other higher education institutions.

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