Earlier this month the Education Trust released a paper arguing that most of America’s public colleges and universities were failing in their mission to educate needy students. The University of Virginia begs to differ. UVA thinks it’s doing better than Ed Trust does. According to an article in C-VILLE Weekly, the Ed Trust data comes from 2006, and the university has made a lot of changes in the last four years:

Greg Roberts, UVA Dean of Admission, says that, as far as UVA goes, things have changed since the 2006 data. “I think we have made tremendous improvements, especially in the low-income area in the past few years,” he says. For the 2009 class, 31 percent of enrolled UVA students are receiving need-based financial aid, an increase from 24 percent in 2006.

Well that’s a good start. The University of Virginia, with its historic buildings, secret societies, and residential colleges, has long been known as one of America’s more exclusive public universities.

According to Ed Turst’s report, 10 percent of UVA students are from poor families. In contrast, some 32 percent of college students in Virginia were from low-income families.

Earlier this month UVA chose Teresa Sullivan to become the next president of the school. Sullivan is currently provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at the University of Michigan, a school that Ed Trust also indicated did not enroll many low-income students.

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