The nation’s top public universities are doling out so much money to students from relatively privileged backgrounds that the campuses are becoming less diverse than even elite private schools, according to a report covered by the Washington Post.
From 2003 to 2007, public research universities increased the amount of aid to students whose parents make at least $115,000 a year by 28 percent, to $361.4 million, said the Education Trust, a nonprofit advocacy group.
Those schools routinely award as much in financial aid to students whose parents make more than $80,000 a year as to those whose parents make less than $54,000 a year, according to the report, “Opportunity Adrift.”
The report suggests that the universities have neglected their mission to educate their states’ diverse populations in favor of recruiting high-achieving students from relatively wealthy families who can help the schools climb in national rankings….
Thirty years ago, a federal Pell Grant covered most of the cost of attending a four-year college; today it covers about a third, making it more difficult for low-income students to attend their states’ flagship schools. The typical low-income student is stuck with a bill totaling about 70 percent of the family’s annual income, the report says.