Being Poor in the Ivy League

The Boston Globe has an interesting article on poor students in the Ivy League. In short, poorer students at elite schools are often better off than their peers in in less selective institutions (financial aid can solve a lot of issues people have trying to attend school), but still face a number of potential problems. Poor students can have trouble with their social lives due to lack of money for things like going on vacation with friends during breaks or even eating dinner outside the subsidized dining hall. Even middle income students are a minority on elite campuses and can face these kinds of problems. There are academic problems too, as students who didn’t go to the kinds of high schools that feed into elite colleges often start at a disadvantage due to both having a somewhat less rigorous education upon entering college and also due to not having connections or knowing how to work the system to their advantage. At the same time, graduation rates and outcomes in general seem to be much better at the elite schools. The majority of poor students (possibly 90+%) do end up graduating, which is a vastly larger percentage than the rate for poor students in general. I would note that while I (middle income but not poor) didn’t end up facing any serious problems going from a decidedly average public high school to an elite college, I do think that many of the things described in the article could have easily happened to me.

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