US News and World Report article on scarcity of low-income students at elite colleges

<p>A rather extensive article (a "Special Report") on this subject appears in the most recent issue of US News and World Report. The main point of the article (from a quick read) seems to be that there are very few low-income students at most top colleges, and that this group is not given a "boost" in admissions such as that given to URMs, athletes, and legacies. Also, some low-income students feel out of place among their wealthier classmates.</p>

<p>Here is the title, subtitle, and link: </p>

<p>Class Conscious
Low-income students have long been a rare and invisible minority at elite colleges. That may be about to change.</p>

<p><a href=""&gt;;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>I'm sure this article will generate some discussion on CC.</p>

<p>Can you hear Mini's fast-approaching footsteps? </p>

<p>Hold the drumrolls! Here he is ..... Mini!</p>

<p>Bowen has written a nice book. I like the part where the wealthy kids were discussing problems that concern the poor. They were so clueless. Someday many of these students will become leaders and decide issues that affect the poor. I would like to see these leaders become a little more educated in reality. A few more poor students, in the schools, that can share their stories, will help.</p>

<p>Personally, as a low income student I find this article so true. In todays world I don't see how we base diversity on ethintisity. I mean how can you say a minority student who grew up in a upperclass family and went to a boarding school is more diverse than a white kid who grew up in a military family and traveled all over the world. I don't see how the students are expected to learn at these schools, when they are surrounded by reflections of themselves. I mean college is so much more then academics and I believe that every student needs to be comfronted with all sorts of different people; not just differen't races, but people who are different socially, economicly, religiously, etc.</p>

<p>jordana, I couldn't agree more.</p>

<p>Don't get me wrong, I went to Williams from a family with a total income of $12,000.</p>

<p>However, the constant message of this board is that colleges should do everything! They should give financial aid to all without considering home equity and understand the middle class can't afford their EFCs, they should not give preference to minorities in the opinion of many, they should have a full range of students as defined by the writer of the moment....They should be utopia!! Why? Does Microsoft, IBM or any other business have a duty to be everyone's idea of a correctly diverse place? Why on earth do people believe that colleges, apart from state schools where they can make their opionions count, have an obligation to be anything but what they choose to be? </p>

<p>Many colleges have reached out and given generously to people such as myself who would not otherwise have had access. But where is this entitlement coming from that colleges somehow owe us?</p>

<p>They don't owe us. The colleges will educate their students better if those students come from different backgrounds including different economic backgrounds. Diversity of thought is a good thing.</p>

<p>But the colleges don't have to educate the poor. Some just can't financially. Others want to educate a different type of student. That's fine. An inferior education is the result.</p>

<p>In your opinion that's the result, and I don't disagree. But the point is there is all this anger and resentment here aabout what these colleges should be doing.</p>

<p>Most interesting to me is that Harvard and others are actively seeking out low income students while the UT adcom had no problem saying they just can't find qualified low income students. Huh??? If I lived in Texas I'd be writting some pretty angry letters!</p>

<p>How was your experience at Williams?</p>

<p>80 Dollars for a meal? THAT'S......are you serious? if it's true, then thank god i didn't get in harvard. :)</p>

<p>However, i dont think most people are like this. when i visited some ivies, a lot of the students i talked to were really normal and they dont look wasteful at all. yes, i think certain rich individuals are probably spending over 100 $ a day on food. but, people of low family incomes can still find a lot of friends.</p>

<p>Williams changed my life and I could not love any institution more. At no point did I feel not included, and those were the days when the vast majority came from prep schools. There was a learning curve to be sure. It took me months to know what The Vinyard was. Thought they grew grapes !</p>

<p>Ten years from now, there will only be max. of about a dozen schools in the country that accept any low-income kids. </p>

<p>It is a natural consequence of the stampede away from need-based aid to middle and upper class merit aid.</p>

<p>The few remaining need-based aid schools are under extreme competitive pressure and it may end up with only HYPSM being able to hold the fort and not engage in the merit-aid bidding war. Anybody who believes that the percentage of low-income students is going to increase is sadly mistaken.</p>


<p>The one thing that I really like about Williams is their philosophy of having no hidden cost and striving to make a Williams education (both in and outside of the classroom) affordable for everyone who attends.</p>

<p>In addition to have reduced or close to no loans for students in the lower income brackets, all students on FA (any kind of aid) have access to the 1914 Memorial library where you can borrow books for the term. If they do not have your book they will give you a $60 vouvher toward the purchase of a book (it must be returned to the library). They try to keep activities on campus, movies, concerts under $5 and weekend road trips in the $50-75 range. </p>

<p>It is not to say that kids won't come to school all decked ou tin expensive clothes (that is at pretty much any school), when I was there I don't think that they blatantly flaunted their wealth the way that it is flaunted at other schools.</p>

<p>Zagat, you come from a poor family and Williams changed your life. It would be nice if more poor people got that opportunity.</p>

<p>Interesteddad, I hope what you are saying doesn't come to pass.</p>

<p>There are schools with a policy of on-campus activities such as movies, parties, and events being free. At my daughter's school, this policy dates back decades, if not a century. The policy is specifically intended so that that low-income kids without the cash for the "extras" are not excluded from the social and entertainment scene and to eliminate a distinction between the "haves" and the "have nots".</p>

<p>The article is going in so many directions that it is hard to follow. It is obviously written with an agenda. For instance, why was the comment by the UT adcom included? "I just don't know how they're admissible in much higher numbers than we already have," says Don Davis, of Texas-Austin, "It's not something we can change." It might have been nice to include some data about the numbers of low-income students that ARE routinely offerred acceptance, as well as the number of low-income students who forego an AUTOMATIC admission at UT for a number of reasons. Not disclosing the number of admitted students make the comment about higher admissibility entrirely trivial ... and misleading. </p>

<p>While I agree with the general spirit of the article, I have some issues with the constant rehashing of the Pell grant data. There is no validity in comparing the numbers of Pell grantees at Berkeley or UCLA with HYPSM. How much of a change in demographics would those two institutions experience if the cornucopia of state and federal subsidies would suddenly get clogged? It is utterly disingenuous to compare the dynamics of admissions and financial matters at a ultra-subsidized public school with a private institution, and especially with private institutions that have vastly more selective admission criteria. As I said before, you can't offer financial aid to students who cannot be admitted without throwing out most reasonable criteria. That is why there are more Pell grantees at Mt Holyoke than at Harvard. That said, in 2005, it is cheaper to attend Harvard as a Pell grantee than it is to attend MHC. The Pell grants tell only a PART of the story. It is the number at the bottom of the dotted line that matters: the number of the calculated EFC plus all the additional loans.</p>

<p>Yes Dstark, and every year I send a few from the school I volunteer at. Again, my point is that I really hate to see feelings of entitlement. These schools truly get to decide what they want to be. I admire those that choose diversity in the truest sense. But to read these boards you would think these are public institutions that owe admission to every qualified candidate. One memorable post lamented that money influences college decisions. Well golly, it's probably a good idea to teach our kids that money influences everything.</p>

<p>It would be wonderful if this were not the case, but it is, and that's not about to change, What needs to change is all of these kids applying to schools there is no way their family can afford and then experiencing grief. </p>

<p>It is this really strange anomoly based on misperceptions. Kids don't go out shopping for cars they can't afford, they know their budget. You don't go to restaurants you can't afford or book first class air fare if it's not in your budget. But somehow people see colleges differently. Why?</p>

Interesteddad, I hope what you are saying doesn't come to pass.


<p>It's already come to pass. I would have a hard time naming a dozen schools that are not making extensive use of non need-based merit-aid discounting. Discounts that go to families who do not qualify for any need-based aid. The money for those discounts is not growing on trees. It comes dollar for dollar out of the need-based aid budget.</p>

<p>My daughter's school is one of the few remaining holdouts. As a matter of principle, they believe that the aid dollars should go to the families who cannot afford college. But, it is killing them from a competitive standpoint. They are a pretty principled outfit and they may be willing to endure the consequences of sticking to their guns. But, I'm not sure they will be able to, especially as they get outbid for middle and upper class URM students.</p>

<p>Whether or not schools like Williams, Swarthmore, and Amherst can remain need-based will determine the final number. If schools like that cannot withstand the onslaught of merit-aid discounting, then you will only have five need-based schools in the country (HYSPM). </p>

<p>I don't believe there is a large state university that is still 100% need based, something that is just plain sick, IMO.</p>

<p>Xiggi, </p>

<p>Are you saying Harvard can't enroll more poor students because there aren't enough that qualify?</p>

<p>It's an article taken about the book. It isn't the book. The book may go into more detail. It's tough for an article to go into detail.</p>

<p>Zagat, I agree with your first two paragraphs in post 17.</p>

<p>As for why, there is still a belief in this country that merit wins out over money. If I am an incredible kid, there is a school that will take me regardless of my ability to pay.</p>