As president of the University of Central Florida, I spend a lot of time talking about our undefeated football team and the Knights' position in the national rankings (eighth in the latest College Football Playoff poll).

<p class = "web-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "However, to tell the truth, inequalities inherent to the system College Football Playoff – despite our team Series of 25 consecutive wins – I worry much less than those of another traditional measure of college success: the annual report of US News & World Report Ranking of the "best colleges""data-reactid =" 28 "> However, to tell the truth, inequalities inherent in the football system in the playoffs – despite the Series of 25 consecutive wins – I worry much less than those of another traditional measure of college success: the annual report of US News & World Report Ranking of the "best colleges".

The US news ranking favors exclusivity at the expense of what colleges are supposed to do: improve social mobility and help students from all socio-economic backgrounds learn and grow in the world.

Too often, the success of a college or university is based on exclusivity or staffing rather than its ability to bring students from all walks of life and backgrounds and help them unleash their full potential.

<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "Read more comments:"data-reactid =" 31 ">Read more comments:

<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "I was in prison until the age of 41, when a vocational program put my life on the right track"data-reactid =" 32 "> I was in prison until the age of 41, when a vocational program put my life on the right track

<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "Harvard admissions lawsuit threatens diversity and strength of America"data-reactid =" 33 ">Harvard admissions lawsuit threatens diversity and strength of America

<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "The feds say that they will forgive your student loan, but hardly anyone actually benefits"data-reactid =" 34 ">The feds say that they will forgive your student loan, but hardly anyone actually benefits

The transformative power of education is not about choosing the student who is most likely to succeed. It's about identifying untapped talents with indefatigable courage and willpower to give everything, no matter what the challenge.

<p class = "canvas-atom web-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "In a modern economy that requires a university degree, mobility stagnant is devastating. 11 percent Students whose families are in the lowest income quartile (annual family income less than $ 37,564) graduate to 24 years of age. In the top quartile, 58% of students do so. "data-reactid =" 36 "> economy requiring a university degree, stagnant mobility is devastating. 11 percent among students whose families belong to the lowest income quartile (annual family income less than $ 37,564), a bachelor's degree is obtained at the age of 24. In the top quartile, 58% of students obtain an undergraduate degree.

The University of Central Florida will never stop prioritizing social mobility – we will not stop hiring a large cohort of first-generation students and students using Pell Grants in hopes of landing a few places in the American ranking. But the United States should not hit us, or any other school, for making that decision.

<p class = "canvas-atom-text-canvas Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "This is a problem In America today, social mobility is rapidly discoloration. "data-reactid =" 38 "> This is an urgent problem In America today, social mobility is rapidly discoloration.

<p class = "canvas-atom web-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "US News has taken a step in the right direction when for the first time weighted social mobility in its ranking of 2019, giving schools more credit for getting more students who receive Pell scholarships. But the modest adjustment has brought about modest changes and has had little effect on the Top 10 at all. We must do more. "Data-reactid =" 39 "> The United States has taken a step in the right direction by launching for the first time weighted social mobility in its ranking of 2019, giving schools more credit for getting more students who receive Pell scholarships. But the modest adjustment has brought about modest changes and has had little effect on the Top 10 at all. We must do more.

Higher ed fails in its mission of social mobility

<p class = "canvas-atom-canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "The UCF and other schools like-minded people would move up a gear US News rankings have changed dramatically if it prioritizes social mobility.We are a high-value public research university more than a quarter of our undergraduate students are first generation students and 40 percent "data-reactid =" 41 "> UCF and other like-minded schools would significantly increase the US rankings, if the ranking placed social mobility first, we are a high-value public research university, where more than a quarter of our undergraduate students are first generation students and 40 percent are eligible for the Pell Grant.

<p class = "canvas-canvas-text canvas Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "The American higher education system fails in its mission to promote social mobility. study published last March in the journal Demography, the gap is widening between rich and poor university graduates. "data-reactid =" 42 "> The American higher education system fails in its mission to promote social mobility. study published last March in the journal Demography, the gap widens between the rich and the poor leaving the university.

<p class = "web-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "But at UCF, we know that talent does not have the same talent. We do not limit the number of low-income students to nearly twice the national average of all four-year schools, we help them to get good jobs in solid areas as soon as we get to their degree, announced a record $ 40 million investment in institutional financial assistance. Social mobility is our calling card. "Data-reactid =" 43 "> But at UCF, we know that talent is not limited by income – it's the only opportunity that exists – and we graduate low-income students almost twice as much as national average, we are helping them find good jobs in strong areas as soon as they graduate, and this month we announced a record $ 40 million investment in institutional financial assistance. Social mobility is our calling card.

<p class = "canvas-atom-canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "Social mobility has never been so useful: a Bachelor's degree earn 73 percent more on average than high school graduates, compared with 50% in the late 1970s. "data-reactid =" 44 "> Social mobility has never been more useful: bachelor's degree holders are gaining 73 percent more on average than those who only completed high school, up from 50% in the late 1970s.

Supporting participants outside the elite is crucial

<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "I'm proud that we were playing in our third New Year's Bowl since 2014. And I'm looking forward to a big game against a big opponent in Louisiana. "Data-reactid =" 48 "> I'm proud to play our third match. New Year's Bowl since 2014. And I'm looking forward to a big game against a big opponent in Louisiana.

But what matters most to me is what happens after the match. Do our students get a great job after graduation? Are they en route to a beautiful career? Will they do better than what the socio-economic class from which they came could have predicted?

The answers to these questions are more important.

If the college football system of the playoffs is unfair to players like UCF, the lion's share of the ink will be retained. But what concerns me even more is to see how higher education supports outsider students who are the first in their families to go to college.

The answer to this question will tell us if social mobility will survive in a country based on it.

<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "Dale Whittaker is President of the University of Central Florida. Follow him on Twitter: @UCFWhittaker"data-reactid =" 53 ">Dale Whittaker is President of the University of Central Florida. Follow him on Twitter: @UCFWhittaker

<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "You can read various opinions of our Committee of contributors and other writers on the Opinion home page, on Twitter @usatodayopinion and in our daily news letter. To reply to a column, send a comment to letters@usatoday.com."data-reactid =" 55 ">You can read various opinions of our Committee of contributors and other writers on the Opinion home page, on Twitter @usatodayopinion and in our daily news letter. To reply to a column, send a comment to letters@usatoday.com.

<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "This article originally appeared in USA TODAY: We are proud to participate in the Fiesta Bowl, but it is more important to promote social mobility."data-reactid =" 56 ">This article originally appeared in USA TODAY: We are proud to participate in the Fiesta Bowl, but it is more important to promote social mobility.