Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Class Admission

Today Emily Bazelon looks at a story in the Chronicle of Higher Education that talks about how colleges and universities with the biggest endowments -- usually over $500 million -- are working at increasing class and race diversity, but somehow the number of students who receive Pell grants are falling. So if these schools were really successfully recruiting lower-class students, wouldn't the Pell grant numbers be going up? The answer is, they're not. The answer, then, isn't to increase recruitment in schools where they might find lower-class students, but instead Yale and Harvard are expanding to upper middle class families with incomes up to $200,000.

These premium colleges and universities seem to be so out-of-touch with the lower class students that they're not recruiting successfully. I grew up in a small town full of middle- and lower-class working folk, something those coastal elitists like to call "flyover country." Part of the problem is that education for a lot of people that might be in the classes that they'd want -- the kind that are in the Pell grant-receiving brackets -- view education as a much more practical venture. They want to earn a degree that will take them the furthest without breaking the bank.

Cross posted.

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