For a while now, wealthy and top-tier colleges have been in the news for trying to attract low-income students and also for failing to attract — and retain — that same population.
Just under 15 percent of the undergraduates at the country’s 50 wealthiest colleges received Pell Grants in 2008-9, the most recent year for which national data are available. That percentage hasn’t changed much from 2004-5, around the time that elite institutions focused their attention on the issue. And Pell Grant students are still significantly less represented at the wealthiest colleges than they are at public and nonprofit four-year colleges nationwide, where grant recipients accounted for roughly 26 percent of students in 2008-9.
Individual colleges among the wealthiest have made gains in enrolling Pell Grant students, who generally come from families with annual incomes of less than $40,000. But others have lost ground. …
Among the 50 wealthiest colleges, the share of undergraduates receiving Pell Grants in 2008-9 ranges from 5.7 percent at Washington University in St. Louis to 30.7 percent at UCLA.
These well-off colleges educate a small slice of the country’s undergraduates. Still, the choices they make can set the tone for admissions and financial-aid policies across the country.
Since 2008-09, of course, schools have continued to make adjustments. Did they help? Well, in 2012, the Times reported that “affluent students have an advantage and the gap is widening.” So, no.