Financial Aid Shifts to the Rich

Chnages in financial aid over the last decade in American’s exclusive colleges resulted in more aid for students from relatively wealthy families. According to an article in Inside Higher Ed:

A period of dramatic shifts in the aid policies of some of the most elite private colleges in the United States has had only the most modest impact on the enrollment of low income students at these institutions. But these colleges saw gains in the share of their students in the top quintile of wealth who received financial aid.

This information comes from another paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Economic Association. The financial aid study, by Catharine Hill of Vassar College and Gordon Winston of Williams College, looked at trends in financial aid at 29 of America’s most selective colleges.

It’s probably worth mentioning that this is not a case of taking money away from needy students and giving it to rich kids, it’s just that in recent years elite colleges have expanded the number of students who receive aid to include those from families with six figure incomes. These colleges remain very generous in the aid they give to low income students; it’s just that there aren’t many low income students attending elite colleges. Less than 12 percent of students in these schools come from poor families.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer