What is Social Mobility?

Social mobility is the movement of individuals from one socioeconomic status to another. Socioeconomic status (SES) is commonly assessed by an individual's income, educational attainment, and occupational opportunities.

About the Center for Social Mobility

Located at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, the Center for Social Mobility is at the forefront of higher education social mobility issues and focuses on approaches institutions can take to support students and address systems that may promote social mobility. The Center for Social Mobility, established in 2018, is one of the only centers in the country focusing on social mobility to be housed at an institution that serves a large population of low-income and underrepresented students.


The Center for Social Mobility is an innovation center developing strategies to expand access, affordability, and completion in higher education. The Center also educates national leaders on social mobility and assist institutions to strengthen their campus social mobility practices and close equity gaps. The Center advocates for providing tangible ways to support traditionally underserved students specifically low-income, underrepresented minorities, and first-generation students.


Social mobility is unlocking higher education possibilities for all students.

  • Serve as an innovation center providing information and best practices to support the social mobility of all students, specifically focusing on success strategies for low-income students.
  • Serve as an advocate: Promoting the need of both financial assistance and support programs for low-income students, a combination which can aid students in overcoming disadvantages and propel them to degree attainment.
  • Develop and promote social mobility practices that benefit higher education and the nation.
  • Partner to advance social mobility and unlock the higher education possibilities for all students. Partnerships include the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV), policy makers, external agencies, researchers, and educators.
  • Advance the social mobility knowledge base by providing a venue where faculty, administrators, and graduate students can collaborate on social mobility projects, research, and publications.