Exploring the cyclical relationships between socioeconomics and education.
The New York Times asked a tough question today: What happens when you’re in the upper echelon academically, but your family’s economic rank is hovering just above (or below) the Federal Poverty Level? Author David Leonhardt exposes the disturbing truth as he looks at a recent study examining the “high supply of high-achieving low-income students.” According to the study,
Only 34 percent of high-achieving high school seniors in the bottom fourth of income distribution attended any one of the country’s 238 most selective colleges, according to the analysis, conducted by Caroline M. Hoxby of Stanford and Christopher Avery of Harvard, two longtime education researchers. Among top students in the highest income quartile, that figure was 78 percent.
The findings underscore that elite public and private colleges, despite a stated desire to recruit an economically diverse group of students, have largely failed to do so.
According to the study, students in this category are opting instead to attend community colleges or local four-year universities because of the lack of awareness of financial aid / scholarship programs. These colleges, unlike their elite competitors, have fewer resources and lower graduation rates. As the study gains more and more attention by top-tiered colleges, such universities “may soon face more pressure to recruit poor and middle-class students, if the Supreme Court restricts race-based affirmative action.”
What do you think the solution is?
More aid to low-income students?
More recruiting in low-income areas?
Photo: Kim Traynor/Creative Commons