Radford ranks high for advancing students’ social mobility


Radford University ranks among the top higher education institutions in Virginia for advancing the social mobility of its students.

In its latest Social Mobility Index (SMI) rankings, CollegeNet, Inc., listed Radford at No. 3 in Virginia, making the university one of the top destinations in the commonwealth for students looking to graduate with less debt and pursue careers with higher salaries.

Radford ranked No. 173 in CollegeNet’s national SMI rankings of colleges and universities.

The SMI benchmarks four-year U.S. colleges and universities according to how effectively they enroll students from low-income backgrounds, many of who are first-generation college students, and graduate them into good-paying jobs, according to CollegeNET.

A perfect example of how Radford is helping many of its students grow and navigate the economic and social challenges of university life is the creation of the Center of Opportunity and Social Mobility (COSM).

“Radford University has a strong legacy of creating an environment where all students can thrive,” said Jessica Twiest, the center’s director. “We surround students with relationships and resources that make a difference in their success.”

Radford opened the COSM at the beginning of the fall 2021 semester, and with it, “Radford is continuing to provide opportunities to students, particularly first-generation students, to achieve a college degree,” Twiest said.

Almost 30% of Radford undergraduates are first-generation college students, meaning they are the first in their immediate family to enroll in a college or university.

For many students, Twiest said, earning a college degree “opens doors to opportunities that would not have been an option without a degree.

“It can change the course of a student’s life and the lives of their entire family. The work of the COSM is to equip students who may lack the experience and understanding of higher education with the resources and support to navigate the nuances of the university systems, as well as celebrate every success and milestone along the way.”

Located in the Bonnie Hurlburt Student Center, COSM aligns with Radford’s goal to provide supportive, student-centered spaces. Inside the center are places to study, use computers, hang out with friends and meet new friends.

To learn more about COSM, follow the center on Facebook (COSM @ Radford), Twitter (cosmradford) and Instagram (cosmradford).

Jan 21, 2022
Chad Osborne
(540) 831-7761