Monday, September 15, 2014

Colleges enrolling poor students
Another “run-don’t-walk” article in the NY Times, which published a College Access Index, showing which colleges are doing a good job of enrolling a reasonable proportion of poor students – and which aren’t (adjustment for size of endowment per student). This type of public acclaim (and shaming) is REALLY powerful. You better believe the folks at Wash U and Kenyon are going to do their darndest to get off the left side of the chart below:

Vassar has taken steps to hold down spending on faculty and staff. Amherst and the University of Florida have raised new money specifically to spend on financial aid for low-income students. American University reallocated scholarships from well-off students to needy ones. Grinnell set a floor on the share of every freshman class – 15 percent – whose parents didn’t go to college.

Over the last decade, dozens of colleges have proclaimed that recruiting a more economically diverse student body was a top priority. Many of those colleges have not matched their words with actions. But some have.

These colleges have changed policies and made compromises elsewhere to recruit the kind of talented poor students who have traditionally excelled in high school but not gone to top colleges. A surprising number of such students never graduate from any college.

To see which selective colleges are doing the most, and the least, to change the situation, The Upshot has analyzed data for every college with a four-year graduation rate of at least 75 percent. We combined data on enrollment and tuition costs to measure how hard each college is trying to attract and graduate poor and middle-class students. The result is our College Access Index.

 Subscribe in a reader