5 reasons colleges should recruit more low-income students

In a study earlier this year, researchers argued that highly selective institutions can afford to enroll more low-income students.

And there are several reasons why colleges should do so, according to Daniel Porterfield, president of Franklin & Marshall College and former senior vice president for strategic development at Georgetown University. In a recent article for the Hechinger Report, Porterfield rounds up recent research that shows why colleges and universities should enroll more low-income students:

1: They're qualified

A 2012 study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that there are between 25,000 and 35,000 students whose academic credentials put them in the top 4% of all students and who also come from families earning less than $41,472 per year. Yet 53% of them do not apply to selective institutions.

2: They succeed

According to a 2007 study published by the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, 90% of low-income students at selective colleges graduate at the same rates as their peers.

3: They prosper

A recent study published by The Equality of Opportunity Project found that among graduates of selective colleges, more than half of students from families with incomes in the bottom 20% achieved earnings in the top 20% by their mid-thirties.

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4: They can close skills gaps

By 2018, demand for college-educated workers will outpace supply by 300,000 jobs, according to a 2010 study published by Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce.

5: Your peers are recruiting them already

A recent study published by the American Talent Initiative found that a number of colleges are already succeeding in recruiting and graduating low-income students, including the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Texas at Austin, Vassar College, and Franklin & Marshall College (Porterfield, Hechinger Report, 11/21).

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How one system increased persistence for at-risk students by 4.4 points

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