VotD: Economic Diversity at Selective Colleges (Not)

Sometimes, a simple bar graph is all you need. This one comes from a report about class-based alternatives to (unpopular and legally imperiled) race-based affirmative action programs for selective college admissions.

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At the top 146 colleges – defined as Barron’s “most” and “highly” competitive categories, including the Ivies but also big public schools like UCLA and UVA and some liberal arts colleges – less than 10% of students come from the bottom half of the socioeconomic distribution.* Owch. I knew my own school – Michigan – had gotten that bad**, but I didn’t quite realize how pervasive it was across selective colleges.

* See Carnevale and Rose for details. It’s a composite measure of reported income and parental education/occupation to deal with some reporting bias, apparently.
* A full 30% of UM undergrads have parents making $200,000 or more. About 10% have parents making under $40,000 per year.

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