Low-income and working-class achievers will get advice on applying to selective colleges as part of a campaign led by Bloombert Philanthropies, reports David Leonhardt in the New York Times. The goal is to persuade more top-performing students from families with below-average incomes to apply to colleges with high graduation rates.
Many strong students from lower-income families don’t apply to selective colleges, according to research on “undermatching.” They choose nearby colleges that may offer less financial aid and a greater risk of going into debt without completing a degree.
Dozens of school districts, across 15 states, now help every high school junior take the SAT. Delaware’s governor has started a program to advise every college-qualified student from a modest background on the application process. The president of the College Board, which administers the SAT and has a decidedly mixed record on making college more accessible, says his top priority is college access.
. . . “If we really believe that America is the world’s greatest meritocracy — and I do — then we can’t sit back and tolerate a situation where so many talented young people who have the grades to get into top colleges are not going to them,” Mr. Bloomberg told me, by email, on Monday. “We’ve got to change that.”
The coalition will hire college counselors — a mix of professionals and college students — to help students choose colleges and apply for fee waivers and financial aid. It plans to reach out to as many as 70,000 students a year, about 5 percent of all 12th graders from the bottom half of the income distribution.