Selective schools reach out to the lower-income students

April 15, 2013

Often, gifted prospective students opt for less selective schools despite the students' potentials to flourish in intense academic environments. Due to their ability to save money for college by entering certain establishments, many of these individuals end up choosing their schools based on economics rather than academics.

A Stanford study intervenes
A recent Inside Higher Ed article describes how pricier, more competitive schools feel the loss of lower-income students choosing cheaper college alternatives. 

The source cites a 2012 Stanford University study that looked at this problem. Many prospective students who could be entering more competitive institutions opt for those that may be less expensive. Such establishments often have lower graduation rates and fewer student resources.

Seeing this problem, Stanford created a mission to try to get gifted students into the selective schools they are qualified for, yet would decide against for financial reasons.

The study tracked 40,000 mainly low-income, highly talented individuals. Through giving these prospective students information about how they could become members of highly-selective institutions, the study created a kind of intervention. 

This information included notes about graduation rates, financial aid for college and application fee waivers at certain competitive institutions. 

This intervention was effective, according to the research. Student Applications to selective schools in the study  increased by 19 percent. Colleges might implement this strategy to make sure they don't miss out on potential talent in their student bodies. 

In other areas, colleges reach out to lower-income students
Higher education also provides for this demographic in alternate ways. According to the New York Times, early college high schools that merge high school with college are gaining in popularity in the United States. Students, specifically those coming from families that may not be able to afford a college education, can get an associate's degree and a high school diploma simultaneously. 

The Times cites Bard College as an institution offering this education to students who otherwise may not get it. 

In general, most schools help lower-income students through financial aid. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in the 2009-2010 year, on average, four-year institutions granted over $8,000 in financial aid to individual students. The lower the income of the student, the more aid he or she typically receives.

Prospective students may be intimidated by certain higher education institutions because of their price-tags, yet many schools show that they want to include all students, despite financial backgrounds.

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