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October 18, 2011

Poor kids still lose race despite better scores

Jay Matthews:

It has become fashionable for our most selective colleges to worry about becoming as representative of American diversity as suburban country clubs.

College admissions experts conferring at the University of Southern California this year were so alarmed that they suggested our most prestigious campuses add space for another 100 students in each class and fill those slots with low-income kids.

Why are our choosiest colleges so dominated by affluent white or Asian students? The explanations are many: not enough financial aid, inadequate preparation in inner-city high schools, poor students' discomfort mixing with rich kids.

But a new study by researchers from the University of Michigan and the University of Arizona suggests something different. Great high schools and families like those in the Washington area may be at fault, at least in part. In the last 32 years, low-income students have significantly raised the grades and test scores that affect college admissions, but have made little headway because students from affluent families have improved even more.

Posted by Jim Zellmer at October 18, 2011 3:31 AM
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