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Have Money, Won’t Spend It on Students

The concept of noblesse oblige does not appear to have made it into the 21st Century, at least judging from the fact that there is negative correlation between a school’s wealth and the number of Pell Grant recipients in its student body. The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation has published a lengthy report that includes the below chart measuring the percent of Pell Grant recipients against the per-student size of a school’s endowment (a favorite measure of this space, given that the College is far wealthier on a per-student basis than Penn, Columbia, Brown and Cornell):

Pell Grants Jack Kent Cooke Foundation.jpg

Dartmouth admits proportionately fewer Pell Grant students than any other Ivy, save Harvard and Yale. The poorer half of the Ivies reaches out more effectively than we do to kids from relatively poor families.

Addendum: The Cooke Foundation report also notes that our cost to apply of $80 puts us among the Top Ten most expensive schools in the country. Only Stanford at $90, and Duke and Columbia at $85 are more expensive — though Columbia’s high price does not seem to deter it from admitting a large number of students requiring Pell Grants. Inside Higher Education notes:

Most colleges and universities charge application fees ($65 is common, and some fees are higher). While the fees may seem small in the context of the total price of attending a private college, many low-income students report that they don’t have the money. Colleges that have dropped application fees or made waivers automatic for many applicants have reported significant gains in the number of low-income students who apply, and who enroll.

Almost all colleges participate in programs that allow applicants to seek a waiver for application fees. But the foundation’s survey suggests that this isn’t working as well as it could.

Addendum: An alumnus writes in:

A math major like Phil Hanlon has this under control. By increasing the student body size by 20%, the embarrassingly-awkward wealth per student ratio is reduced. So does slowing down capital campaigns. We can impact both numerator and denominator.

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