For low-income students considering college, a nudge to aim high

Matt Zalaznick's picture
Thursday, September 26, 2013

The group that administers the SAT has begun a nationwide outreach program to try to persuade more low-income high school seniors who scored high on standardized tests to apply to select colleges.

The group, the College Board, is sending a package of information on top colleges to every senior who has an SAT or Preliminary SAT score in the top 15 percent of test takers and whose family is in the bottom quarter of income distribution. The package, which includes application fee waivers to six colleges of the student’s choice, will be sent to roughly 28,000 seniors.

The program is the largest response so far to new academic research showing that most low-income students with high test scores and grades do not even apply to, yet alone attend, select colleges. Forgoing significant financial aid, many students may instead enroll in nearby colleges with low graduation rates.

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