‘Being Not-Rich’: Low-Income Students at Michigan Share Savvy Advice

Emma Kerr:

An online guide to “Being Not-Rich” on the University of Michigan’s flagship campus has been annotated with dozens of comments and suggestions from students and faculty and staff members since the Google Doc began spreading in January.

Eager contributors have suggested the best part-time jobs in Ann Arbor, warned of tax pitfalls to work-study programs, and recommended good deals for eating and drinking: Taco Tuesday at Cantina, $1 well drinks at Rick’s American Cafe.

At a university with a median family income of $154,000 — highest among its peer institutions — the guide fills a need for help in sifting through resources and making connections to other low-income students.

“There’s this assumption that everyone here is wealthy,” Lauren Schandevel, a junior and a creator of the guide, told The Chronicle. “Most of the resources here are geared toward that kind of student. U of M hasn’t been able to accommodate these new students coming in who might not be the traditional, legacy, white, affluent students.”

The key aspect of the guide is its accessibility, Schandevel said. Some of the advice is anecdotal, but all of it, she said, is based on experience.