The Poor and the Rich: A Look at Economic Stratification and Academic Performance Among Undergraduate Students in the United States
A number of national studies point to a trend in which highly selective and elite private and public universities are becoming less accessible to lower-income students. At the same time there have been surprisingly few studies of the actual characteristics and academic experiences of low-income students or comparisons of their undergraduate experience with those of more wealthy students. This paper explores the divide between poor and rich students, first comparing a group of selective US institutions and their number and percentage of Pell Grant recipients and then, using institutional data and results from the University of California Undergraduate Experience Survey (UCUES), presenting an analysis of the high percentage of low-income undergraduate students within the University of California system â€” who they are, their academic performance and quality of their undergraduate experience. Among our conclusions: The University of California has a strikingly higher number of low-income students when compared to a sample group of twenty-four other selective public and private universities and colleges, including the Ivy Leagues and a sub-group of other California institutions such as Stanford and the University of Southern California. Indeed, the UC campuses of Berkeley, Davis, and UCLA each have more Pell Grant students than all of the eight Ivy League institutions combined. However, one out of three Pell Grant recipients at UC have at least one parent with a four-year college degree, calling into question the assumption that â€œlow-incomeâ€ and â€œfirst-generationâ€ are interchangeable groups of students. Low-income students, and in particular Pell Grant recipients, at UC have only slightly lower GPAs than their more wealthy counterparts in both math, science and engineering, and in humanities and social science fields. Contrary to some previous research, we find that low-income students have generally the same academic and social satisfaction levels; and are similar in their sense of belonging within their campus communities. However, there are some intriguing results across UC campuses, with low-income students somewhat less satisfied at those campuses where there are more affluent student bodies and where lower-income students have a smaller presence.
|Date of creation:||25 Sep 2008|
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: http://www.escholarship.org/repec/cshe/|
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Gordon C. Winston & Catharine B. Hill & David J. Zimmerman, 2007. "A Note on How Well Available Income Information Identifies Low-Income Students," Williams Project on the Economics of Higher Education DP-71, Department of Economics, Williams College.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cdl:cshedu:qt68p432p0. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Lisa Schiff)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.