Efforts to recruit poor students lag at some elite colleges

Thursday, August 1, 2013

With affirmative action under attack and economic mobility feared to be stagnating, top colleges profess a growing commitment to recruiting poor students.

But a comparison of low-income enrollment shows wide disparities among the most competitive private colleges. A student at Vassar, for example, is three times as likely to receive a need-based Pell Grant as one at Washington University in St. Louis.

"It’s a question of how serious you are about it,” said Catharine Bond Hill, the president of Vassar. She said of colleges with multibillion-dollar endowments and numerous tax exemptions that recruit few poor students, “Shame on you.”

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