Income Mobility at Historically Black Colleges and Universities Webinar

Posted by Southern Regional Education Board on December 3, 2019

JANUARY 21, 2020

This webinar will discuss the unique learning environment of historically black colleges and universities and the value of these institutions to both students and to the field of postsecondary education. The presenter will provide an overview of research on how predominantly white institutions and historically black institutions impact their graduates’ economic mobility. Nathanson’s recent study compared the income of recent college graduates to parents’ incomes and found that HBCUs do a better job of helping low-income students progress into the middle class. Results showed that nearly 70% of HBCU students attain at least middle-class incomes, and most low-income HBCU students improve their long-term economic position. Reasons for the findings, as well as how all postsecondary institutions can work to improve the economic mobility of their graduates, will be discussed.


Robert Nathenson is a senior researcher at the American Institutes for Research. He was formally a research specialist at the Consortium for Policy Research in Education at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education. He has expertise in experimental and quasi-experimental design as well as in the execution of rigorous econometric and behavioral science techniques to applied policy questions in postsecondary education, K-12 education and health. In higher education, his research focuses on questions of access, persistence, affordability, student loan debt, and mobility for minority and low-income populations. He is principal investigator of the evaluation of the Pennsylvania Treasury’s statewide college savings account initiative, Keystone Scholars, the largest such program in the country. Nathenson completed his postdoctoral training in health economics at the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics at the University of Pennsylvania. He received his Ph.D. in sociology of education, with a focus on quantitative methods, as well as a master’s in applied math and statistics from Johns Hopkins University, where he was an Institute of Education Sciences pre-doctoral fellow. He holds a master’s degree from the University of Oxford and a bachelor’s degree from Washington University in St. Louis.

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