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Princeton, Others Aim to Accept More Low-Income Students

Dave_BerryDave_Berry CC Admissions Expert Posts: 2,441 Senior Member
"Princeton University in the fall will begin taking transfer students from community colleges for the first time.

Several hundreds miles south, Davidson College recently began keeping dining halls open during fall break, Thanksgiving and Easter, an acknowledgment that not all students could afford the trip home from North Carolina.

They’re small steps. But the institutions hope that if enough peers make similar moves, the nation’s highest ranked campuses could seem within reach for thousands of financially strapped students.

Just over a year ago, 30 elite colleges banded together with a goal of enrolling an additional 50,000 low- and moderate-income students at top institutions by 2025." ...


Replies to: Princeton, Others Aim to Accept More Low-Income Students

  • ambkeeganambkeegan Registered User Posts: 206 Junior Member
    if the school is need blind how do they know their income to admit more low income students? What is considered low income?
  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 Registered User Posts: 34,403 Senior Member
    edited March 8
    The proxy is generally Pell Grant recipients, who are lower income and working class/middle class. In addition, they extend their definition of incomes that should receive very generous financial aid to actual middle class families that make 75k (which is above average for a family of 4).
    Even if they're need blind, they know that a kid whose EC's involve doing charity abroad and travelling club sports is likely wealthier than a kid who works a part time job and is responsible for siblings while parents work the night shift.
  • austinmshauriaustinmshauri Registered User Posts: 6,231 Senior Member
    edited March 8
    They didn't say they were going to admit more low income students, they said they were going to enroll more of them. We see plenty of posts here from families whose kids were admitted to schools that ended up being unaffordable. Once students are admitted, colleges can authorize their financial aid offices to offer more aid to lower income families to entice them to attend. It wouldn't affect their need blind admission policies, but it might increase the number of low income enrollees. What's considered low income probably differs depending on the school.
  • TheGreyKingTheGreyKing Registered User Posts: 1,180 Senior Member
    edited March 8
    Williams College and similar schools engage in an outreach effort. They visit some high schools in low income areas. They participate in organizations like Questbridge and POSSE that are designed for students whose families have a low income. They pay for low income students to fly out and visit the college, through programs such as WOW (Windows on Williams).

    So, admissions is need-blind in that the admissions officers do not see whether any given applicant is applying for financial aid at the time they read the application, and income will not prohibit anyone’s admission, but the colleges deliberately recruit low income students to apply. The goal is to get the most talented students from all segments of society and to make it easier for students with lower family incomes to learn about the college, to navigate their way through the admissions process, and to afford to attend.
  • msdynamite85msdynamite85 Registered User Posts: 7 New Member
    I don’t understand why there isn’t an easy to follow national college counciling software that every high school kid and their parents have access to . A resource created in collaboration between all of the elite colleges and the DoE where every parent, irrespective of their background, can find all the admissions process and financial aid information that they need.

    The process shouldn’t have to need much navigating.
  • CenterCenter Registered User Posts: 1,818 Senior Member
    Once again the middle class takes it on the chin.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 66,032 Senior Member
    ambkeegan wrote:
    if the school is need blind how do they know their income to admit more low income students?

    Many admission characteristics are correlated with high/low income. For example, to reduce the high income bias present in many super-selective college admissions (that admit around half from the top 2-3%) without becoming need-aware for individual applicants, a college can do the following:

    * Remove legacy preference.
    * Increase first generation preference.
    * Reduce extracurricular weight for "preppy sports" and other expensive extracurriculars.
    * Increase extracurricular weight for working to help support one's family.
    * Not require SAT subject tests, CSS Profile, recommendations that students in low income environments may not have sufficient advance warning about.
    * Not require non-custodial parent information for financial aid, since divorce correlates with lower income.
  • vonlostvonlost Super Moderator Posts: 26,457 Super Moderator
    edited March 8
    ^ The school could also revoke the "need blind" statement with an explanation.
  • sbjdorlosbjdorlo Registered User Posts: 4,940 Senior Member
    @MYOS1634, I believe the year my middle son got a Pell Grant, our previous year's income was 71 or 74K for a family of five with two in college. Certainly not low income, but living in California squeezes one a bit more than most other places around the country.
  • PPofEngrDrPPofEngrDr Registered User Posts: 215 Junior Member
    accidentally tumble on this thread (CC nice job for featured thread, not some Russian meddling). Back to topic, this is great way to uplift society when merit handshakes need.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 66,032 Senior Member
    vonlost wrote:
    The school could also revoke the "need blind" statement with an explanation.

    However, "need blind" (for individual applicants) is enough of a marketing tool that a college may be reluctant to drop that claim. But, as noted above, there are plenty of admission correlates to financial neediness or lack thereof, so that adjusting how they are weighted in admissions can allow the college to tune its incoming class's financial aid profile while still being "need blind" for individual applicants (even though all colleges that offer their own financial aid are need aware with respect to the class as a whole).
  • arinumaarinuma Registered User Posts: 177 Junior Member
    edited March 9
    As a low-income student, I'm always really surprised to discover how many applicants aren't because they're convinced they can't do it, or how many high middle-income people who can't afford it that do. Really screwy.

    I actually like the term 'need-blind' because it tells me, "We aren't terrified that you're broke as heck and won't be able to pay anything, in fact, we embrace you for your academic achievements'

    I am a little worried that this will be the next affirmative action deal, with well-off kids shouting on 'You only got in because you're poor!" Nah.

    We got accepted despite being poor.
  • 1NJParent1NJParent Registered User Posts: 215 Junior Member
    Once again the middle class takes it on the chin.

    Elite colleges are only seeking out these low-income applicants who wouldn't otherwise apply. Unlike URM status, low-income is usually not a hook in admission and is actually a detriment in need-aware schools. These colleges also tend to have large endowments with need-blind admission policy. How does this adversely affect the middle class?
  • juilletjuillet Super Moderator Posts: 11,946 Super Moderator
    Many (though not all) of the colleges in the American Talent Initiative are already need-blind and meet full demonstrated need or close to it for low-income students.

    To me, I think the major issue with low-income students is not affordability at these types of schools but awareness and knowledge to navigate the application and financial aid processes. When I work with high-achieving, low-income students from whom college just got on their radar, most of them are expecting to enroll in the local public universities. Especially out here on the West Coast...a lot of these kids can't imagine leaving their families and traveling 3,000 miles to travel to the Northeast to go to some elite private school.

    My thoughts on things that'll help are

    -Partnerships with nonprofits, schools and organizations that are designed to help low-income students get into college. Posse and Questbridge are great; far too often kids haven't heard of them, and may public school guidance counselors haven't either (my GCs NEVER suggested either, and both existed in my city.) Hiring admissions officers whose job it is to form partnerships with some public schools, disseminate information to them, and understand the unique contexts of their students may be a good step in the right direction. There are also smaller local/regional and even smaller national programs that are working to get low-income students into college, and working with these programs can be useful too.

    -Summer programs that are especially designed for low-income and/or underrepresented students. With scholarships. In every program I've volunteered with, we've had getting students into summer programs after sophomore and junior years of high school as a primary goal. Part of the problem is finding programs and the second half is funding these programs. As a nonprofit we can ask the universities to kick in part of the money on behalf of the kid and often do get it, but individual students don't know they can do that.

    Make a summer program that is, for example, half talented kids from underserved communities and half the kinds of talented kids who already get into these programs. Then offer the regular semi-college-level curriculum plus some extra courses - writing college admissions essays, navigating the financial aid process, selecting a college, etc. Towards the end of the summer, they can even have a deal where they have the kids submit part of the application super early so they've already started.
  • CA94309CA94309 Registered User Posts: 132 Junior Member
    edited March 9
    Once again the middle class takes it on the chin.
    How does this adversely affect the middle class?
    Increase in enrollment of low income students requiring FA means admitting more of the top %1 income earners, the class that donates a lot. Squeezes out the middle class and upper middle class, specially the Asian American community.
    Currently, the top %1 on an average comprises of about 20% of the undergrad student body at the elite privates.
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