For Selective Institutions, Progress and Backsliding on Socioeconomic Diversity

Ten years ago, Washington University in St. Louis was among the least economically diverse selective colleges in the U.S. Only about 6 percent of first-year students were recipients of the Pell Grant, a federal, income-based form of financial aid.

“I mean, we were the worst in the country,” Andrew D. Martin, current chancellor of the university, told Inside Higher Ed.

So university leaders decided they needed to make a change.

“My predecessor and his leadership team, along with the Board of Trustees, decided that this was something that we were going to work on very intentionally,” said Martin. “A university’s budget, in many respects, is a statement of its values and priorities, and so we began investing significant amounts of our own resources into financial aid.”

The investment has paid off. Today, the proportion of low- and moderate-income first-year students at the midsize private research institution is up 10 percentage points, to 16 percent, according to The New York Times’ College Access Index, which the newspaper released Thursday.

Read full story in Inside Higher Ed