How D.C.-area colleges rank for economic diversity
Most D.C.-area colleges have made either modest or no gains in enrolling more economically diverse students since more than a decade ago, a new New York Times Magazine analysis suggests.
Why it matters: The data offers a glimpse into universities' commitment to economic diversity as many schools reevaluate their admissions processes in the wake of the Supreme Court striking down race-based affirmative action.
How it works: The Times ranked 286 of the country's most selective universities in order of economic diversity.
- The rankings are measured by the percentage of freshmen with federal Pell Grants, which are made available to low-income families.
The big picture: Four of the five area schools that made it into the analysis are below the national average when it comes to having an economically diverse student body.
By the numbers: George Mason University is the sole university analyzed punching above the national average of 21%. The school had 28% of freshmen with Pell grants in the 2020-21 school year, up 3 percentage points from 2011.
- American University: 18%, up by 3
- George Washington: 17%, up 4
- Georgetown University: 14%, no change since 2011
- UMD-College Park: 15%, no change since 2011
- George Mason University went against the grain, saying the school does not consider race in admissions while touting an economically diverse student body.
Between the lines: A paper from Harvard economists earlier this year found children from ultra-wealthy families are 2.9 times more likely to be accepted into Georgetown University compared to others with comparable test scores.
- That showcases a bias toward the wealthiest applicants, who are disproportionately white.
Editor's note: This story has been corrected to reflect that four area colleges analyzed in the report are below the national average for economic diversity, not five.
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