Report Finds High-Performing, Low-Income Students Often Discouraged from Applying To College

A new report by the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation found that concerns about college costs, including room and board, discourages more than one-third of high-achieving, low-income students from applying to any college.

The report surveyed more than 2,500 high school seniors from low-income backgrounds who had a GPA above 3.8 and SAT or ACT scores in the top 15 percent nationwide. Nearly half (44 percent) never visited their top choice school, and almost one-quarter (23 percent) applied with no help from parents, teachers or counselors, the report found.

In addition, the report reviewed net price calculators, Inside Higher Ed reported, finding that some (like Wellesley College's) were friendly to low-income students while others (like Yale University’s) were not.  It also endorsed the use of Pell Abacus, a tool that allows low-income students to get a sense of aid eligibility at various colleges without having a lot of family financial information. But the report noted that 31 elite colleges block use of the tool, which requires connection to a college's website. 

To boost enrollment of low-income students, the report recommends clarifying the true cost of attendance, simplifying the application process, and waiving application fees.


Related Links

Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Report

Inside Higher Ed