A new survey reveals that U.S. colleges increasingly favor rich students who can pay their way without financial assistance even if they're dumber than poorer kids (unlikely). For you poor kids out there, this is good news: You can stop studying now. It doesn't matter anymore.
Released by Inside Higher Ed, the study is based on responses from 462 admissions college and university admissions directors from across the country. Ten percent of survey respondents admitted that their schools sometimes accept "full-pay" students who have lower grades and test scores than other applicants who might require financial assistance. Hey, they go to college to become smart, right? So their intelligence level really shouldn't matter until their freshman year.
Other findings revealed in the study:
- The top admissions strategy among public schools is to recruit more out-of-state students, who pay higher tuition fees. Providing more financial aid was the second-most important goal.
- Recruiting more students who can pay their way is "key"—especially at grad schools, where helping less fortunate students is secondary.
- Community colleges care the most about poor kids, though they also want more full-pay students.
Some might worry that these bottom line-centric goals are unfair and classist. Those arguments might be true, but they also represent a time when such considerations mattered. Besides, it's safer in the long run for poor kids to be shut out of higher education, because if they can't engage with the system, then they can't get scammed by the system.