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How an Ivy got less preppy: Princeton draws surge of students from modest means

Dave_BerryDave_Berry CC Admissions Expert Posts: 2,758 Senior Member
"The gatekeepers here wanted to shed, once and for all, the reputation of a tradition-steeped university that caters mainly to the preppy and the privileged. So they recruited from far more high schools, tapped the endowment for more financial aid and took more steps to welcome newcomers from poor and working-class homes.

They even began checking family finances before deciding whom to admit. The point was not to exclude those in need but, possibly, to boost their chances.

The result: In little more than a dozen years, Princeton University tripled the share of freshmen who qualify for federal Pell Grants to 22 percent this fall. The grants, targeting students from low-to-moderate-income families with significant financial need, are a key indicator of economic diversity. The Ivy League school’s transformation reflects mounting pressure on top colleges, public and private, to provide more opportunity to communities where poverty is common and college degrees scarce." ...


Replies to: How an Ivy got less preppy: Princeton draws surge of students from modest means

  • Muad_dibMuad_dib Registered User Posts: 858 Member
    At under 7% acceptance rate, admission is still a crapshoot.
  • pantha33mpantha33m Registered User Posts: 254 Junior Member
    I see what you did there, @twoinanddone.
  • DolemiteDolemite Registered User Posts: 2,036 Senior Member
    @Tanbiko I've wondered if they did that for Athletic recruits to keep Ivy recruiting competitive or are they forced not too by NCAA interpretation.
  • TanbikoTanbiko Registered User Posts: 290 Junior Member
    @Dolemite Ivy League is an athletic league with their own regulations. They officially allow recruits to share finaid offers with other schools for the sake of matching. It is on their website. Probably, for the reason you mentioned, to equalize teams. However, from my observations, the "preferential packaging" is not limited to athletic recruits.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 72,843 Senior Member
    If they are looking directly at the financials of individual applicants to make admissions decisions, then they would technically be need-aware, though in this case in the opposite direction that need-aware generally connotes.

    Of course, colleges also can and do shape their classes to meet an expected financial aid profile by changing the weighting of various applicant qualities that correlate to higher or lower family income and wealth, without necessarily having to look directly at the financials of individual applicants.
  • citymama9citymama9 Registered User Posts: 2,459 Senior Member
    @3puppies the one URM that I know at Princeton has test scores and grades way below what is expected of the non- hooked. Granted, he was also a great football player and went to a top public HS
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 72,843 Senior Member
    citymama9 wrote:
    I think places like Princeton are filled with the rich and the poor, but not as many middle and upper middle class folks

    https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?q=princeton&s=all&id=186131#finaid indicates the following for students at Princeton:

    42% no grant or scholarship financial aid -- presumably top 2-3% or so family income/wealth
    43% grant or scholarship aid, no Pell grant -- presumably upper half of family income/wealth, except for the top 2-3%
    15% grant or scholarship aid including Pell grant -- presumably lower half of family income/wealth

    Even if the Pell percentage increases to 22% overall as the frosh classes with higher Pell percentage replace graduating classes with lower Pell percentage, that still leaves the top end of the income/wealth range extremely over-represented, and the rest of the upper half better represented than the lower half.
  • DolemiteDolemite Registered User Posts: 2,036 Senior Member
    @citymama9 I don't think that is correct. Depending on your definition of rich, I'd say most are middle class and upper middle class. Lots of highly educated parents.
  • citymama9citymama9 Registered User Posts: 2,459 Senior Member
    edited October 2017
    @dolemite and @ucbalumnus What I meant was that there is financial help for those with little money and the wealthy are full pay, but there are those who make too much for aid, but not enough to be full pay, and there is no merit available to them. I have read that here on CC so many times.
  • Sam-I-AmSam-I-Am Registered User Posts: 609 Member
    Isn't it self-serving for P to select out Pell Grant eligible students from out of their FA pool of otherwise academically qualified students? Doesn't the federal government fund the Pell Grants, not the institution? Sounds like P may be taking the most very needy just so that P does NOT have to dip as deeply into its own endowment to fund these students as it might for other students that don't qualify for a Pell.
  • DolemiteDolemite Registered User Posts: 2,036 Senior Member
    @citymama9 While that is true, Princeton pretty much has the best need-based aid in the country, so even households making 200K+ are getting institutional aid at Princeton.
  • pantha33mpantha33m Registered User Posts: 254 Junior Member
    Considering that most Pell Grant recipients have family income less than $50,000 (and most have way less), I'm pretty sure I'd rather not qualify.
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