Inside Higher Ed reports on a new consortium to make college more affordable and more accessible for low-income “B+” students who may not now aspire to colleges with higher graduation rates and more competitive admissions.
And as is often the case, the attention is focused on higher status colleges, not the regional state schools were *most* students enroll:
Meanwhile, the identity of the colleges being targeted in the initiative is one major line of criticism. Some argue that to truly help more low- and moderate-income students graduate, you need to pump money into the public colleges and universities they attend — often nonflagship state universities. While the low-income students who are admitted to Harvard thanks to this program will certainly benefit, critics say, the overall problem of access to higher education won’t be addressed, since most low-income students will never be admitted to these institutions.
via Effort launches to boost low-income enrollment at top colleges
This looks like another excellent book on class on campus — at least elite campuses. Certainly the contrasts of class are most stark in such places.
And surely, the class dynamics that may be harder to identify a such, that may be just as devastating, that may be interpreted by students as “I’m just not as good as those students who seem like me”- those class dynamics between the children of poor and working class parents and the children of professionals at the hundreds and hundreds of state schools across the country are also worthy of study.
Class not simply the line between the wealthy and the rest of us.
But as for this book, we cannot say things like this enough:
At elite colleges like the one I studied, middle- and upper-income students tend to be understood as typical, while low-income, first-generation students are the exceptions, the outsiders coming in. Echoing what we see in broader popular culture, middle- and upper-income student experiences are presented as common, and the kinds of jobs their parents have are presented as desirable. By contrast, there’s very little discussion of class inequality, or of working-class or low-income lives, except as something to leave behind.
Yet more on the lure of higher income students in these times of diminished state funding.
“Because the state contributes a smaller and smaller proportion of UW-Madison’s operating budget, the university administration naturally considers alternative ways of raising revenues, and the many wealthy applicants offer a quick, attractive alternative,” the study authors wrote.
A new report calls for elite institutions to affirmatively recruit and admit high achieving students in poverty, arguing that there is ample evidence that these students will thrive once admitted.
Students from families in the bottom economic quartile comprise only three percent of enrollment in the most competitive schools, while those from the top economic quartile comprise 72 percent.
via True Merit.
I’m discouraged when articles like this come out that declare that many First Generation students are academically underprepared, only to read that the study was done by the creators of the ACT test and the only measure used was ACT scores, not actual academic performance in college.
There’s intriguing evidence that the ACT offers only “trivial” value for predicting success in college.
So Kudos to the commenter who speaks as a former first generation student and now as their advocate who speaks of actual performance in college and supports that make a difference rather than simplifying potential for the complex work of navigating college to a single test score.