Elite Universities Could Take More Low-income Students, Study Says

The 20% Solution: Selective Colleges Can Afford to Admit More Pell Grant Recipients a study by  by the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University.

The 20% Solution: Selective Colleges Can Afford to Admit More Pell Grant Recipients a study by  by the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University.

A growing number of low-income students in the US are qualified to attend the nation's most selective colleges and universities but instead, they go to community colleges and regional public universities with low graduation rates. According to a new report, nearly 90,000 students score at or above the median on standardized admission tests for students at selective colleges. 

The study published by the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University, found that the nation’s most elite universities could enroll more low-income students without significantly hurting their academic standards, graduation rates or budgets.

If every college was required to have at least 20 percent Pell Grant recipients, more than 72,000 students would have to be admitted to 346 colleges and universities, reports the press release.  “Highly-qualified Pell Grant students are being turned away from the opportunity for an elite college education, which is more and more open only to the wealthy,” said Anthony P. Carnevale, director of the Georgetown Center and lead author of the report. 

Many suggest that low-income students do not gain admittance because they are not qualified. However, the study The 20% Solution: Selective Colleges Can Afford to Admit More Pell Grant Recipients, contradicts that idea finding that Pell Grant recipients graduate at almost exactly the same rate as all students at selective colleges. 

The Georgetown center’s also reveals that the 69 most selective private colleges had average annual budget surpluses of $139 million from 2012 to 2015, money they could use to subsidize financial aid.

To view the report and a full list of schools with Pell percentages and budget surpluses, visit: http://cew.georgetown.edu/pell20