ICYMI: Some Colleges Have More Students From the Top 1 Percent Than the Bottom 60. Find Yours. – The New York Times

 

Students at elite colleges are even richer than experts realized, according to a new study based on millions of anonymous tax filings and tuition records.

At 38 colleges in America, including five in the Ivy League – Dartmouth, Princeton, Yale, Penn and Brown – more students came from the top 1 percent of the income scale than from the entire bottom 60 percent.

38 colleges had more students from the top 1 percent than the bottom 60 percent

STUDENTS FROM … THE TOP 1%
($630K+)
BOTTOM 60%
(<$65K)
1. Washington University in St. Louis 21.7 6.1
2. Colorado College 24.2 10.5
3. Washington and Lee University 19.1 8.4
4. Colby College 20.4 11.1
5. Trinity College (Conn.) 26.2 14.3
6. Bucknell University 20.4 12.2
7. Colgate University 22.6 13.6
8. Kenyon College 19.8 12.2
9. Middlebury College 22.8 14.2
10. Tufts University 18.6 11.8
These estimates are for the 1991 cohort (approximately the class of 2013). Rankings are shown for colleges with at least 200 students in this cohort, sorted here by the ratio between the two income groups.

Roughly one in four of the richest students attend an elite college – universities that typically cluster toward the top of annual rankings (you can find more on our definition of “elite” at the bottom).

In contrast, less than one-half of 1 percent of children from the bottom fifth of American families attend an elite college; less than half attend any college at all.

Where today’s 25-year-olds went to college, grouped by their parents’ income

About four in 10 students from the top 0.1 percent attend an Ivy League or elite university, roughly equivalent to the share of students from poor families who attend any two- or four-year college.

Colleges often promote their role in helping poorer students rise in life, and their commitments to affordability. But some elite colleges have focused more on being affordable to low-income families than on expanding access. “Free tuition only helps if you can get in,” said Danny Yagan, an assistant professor of economics at the University of California, Berkeley, and one of the authors of the study.

The study – by Raj Chetty, John Friedman, Emmanuel Saez, Nicholas Turner and Mr. Yagan – provides the most comprehensive look at how well or how poorly colleges have built an economically diverse student body. The researchers tracked about 30 million students born between 1980 and 1991, linking anonymized tax returns to attendance records from nearly every college in the country.

We’re offering detailed information on each of more than 2,000 American colleges on separate pages. See how your college compares – by clicking any college name like Harvard, U.C.L.A., Penn State, Texas A&M or Northern Virginia Community College – or search for schools that interest you.

At elite colleges, the share of students from the bottom 40 percent has remained mostly flat for a decade. Access to top colleges has not changed much, at least when measured in quintiles. (The poor have gotten poorer over that time, and the very rich have gotten richer.)

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About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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