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It’s the Student, not the College

That statement is my mantra when students and families have their hearts set on the big bumper sticker names only.

I often tell my students who are not eligible for federal financial aid that they will be successful even if they are denied from the most selective colleges. They have already built the skills to do well in college and have the benefits of connections (and will make more in college) that advantage them after graduation. I’m talking about earning potential.

As the article Revisiting the Value of Elite Colleges discussed, it has been found that, "A student with a 1400 SAT score who went to Penn State but applied to Penn earned as much, on average, as a student with a 1400 who went to Penn.”

It’s the opposite for students who qualify for financial aid. Attending highly selective colleges can be life-changing for them.

"It’s important to note that a few major groups did not fit the pattern: black students, Latino students, low-income students, and students whose parents did not graduate from college. “For them, attending a more selective school increased earnings significantly.”

That’s why we hope that colleges continue, despite the Supreme Court decision on Affirmative Action, to admit low income students so they have a chance to build income and work towards an equal footing with students of means.


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