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2022 National Social Mobility Symposium

Partnering for Prosperity & Inclusive Growth

Thursday, June 23 (full day) & Friday, June 24, 2022 (ends at noon)

Campus of California State University San Marcos

Social Mobility Symposium Registration


Program Proposals

This symposium will be an opportunity for the higher education community to come together to discuss how institutions can best support student social mobility and the inclusive recovery and growth of the communities they serve in today's evolving and challenging environment. The symposium is a bicoastal collaboration with Old Dominion University and California State University San Marcos.

Details: Join colleagues from around the country in sharing new ideas and exploring innovative ways of serving students while also partnering with external partners.

Discussions will be grounded in possibility and creativity, with opportunities to learn and innovate with each other.

Proposals: 2022 National Social Mobility Symposium organizers welcomes proposals that highlight:

  • The role of higher education in creating pathways to social mobility.
  • Innovative strategies that have supported diverse student opportunity and access.
  • Unique community partnerships that support student access, retention and graduation rates.
  • Supporting students through the K-14 pipeline.

Proposals may be for a 60-minute traditional session, 30-minute power session, facilitated panel discussions, poster presentations or workshops.

Registration and Program Proposals: Registration and program proposals will open in April. Conference fees are waived thanks to generous sponsors.


About Old Dominion University

Old Dominion University is Virginia's entrepreneurial-minded doctoral research university with more than 24,000 students, rigorous academics, an energetic residential community and initiatives that contribute $2.6 billion annually to the commonwealth's economy.


About California State University San Marcos

Building on an innovative 30-year history, California State University San Marcos is a forward-focused institution, dedicated to preparing future leaders, building great communities and solving critical issues. With more than 16,000 students, CSUSM has been a recipient of the annual HEED Award since 2014 — a national honor recognizing U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion. For more information visit csusm.edu.




ODU Center for Social Mobility

At Old Dominion University (ODU), we have made it our mission to serve many low-income, first-generation students, and we are proud of our work. Our student body includes over 8,200 students who receive Pell Grants, which is 43% of our undergraduate student body, among the largest percent of 4-year publics.

For many of the students we serve at ODU, a degree means more than starting a career. A college degree can advance the socioeconomic status for our students, often positively impacting their families, and the greater community. Social mobility of students refers to their upward socioeconomic movement.

The ODU Center for Social Mobility brings together higher education leaders from across the Commonwealth of Virginia and national experts to advance programs that increase social mobility. As a national leader in social mobility research and initiatives, the Center uses a multipronged approach to stimulate collaboration to create and expand affordable student pathways.


What is social mobility and why does it make a difference?

Over the past fifty years, there has been a growing diversity of students enrolling in American postsecondary education. Underrepresented minority learners have enjoyed increases in access but there are gaps in degree attainment by race and ethnicity. The overall national attainment average in the United States (residents ages 25 to 64) is 42% for associate degree holders or above, compared with Blacks (31%), Native Americans (25%), and Latinx (24%) (Lumina Foundation, 2018).

By expanding college access for low-income and underrepresented students, higher education institutions can promote social mobility in a tangible way. Institutions need to develop intentional strategies to retain economically disadvantaged students, improve college completion, and graduate these students into productive jobs. Providing coordinated financial assistance, academic, and support programs for low-income students is of paramount importance.

Reaching the finish line for low-income students can have a financial ripple effect in terms of social and economic mobility —that can be felt for generations. That ripple also benefits neighborhoods and communities.