“Higher education is divided into high-poverty and low-poverty colleges to a disturbing degree,” writes Andrew Gillen, research director at Education Sector.
More than half of federal aid recipients come from families with an annual income under $30,000. These low-income students tend to attend colleges with low graduation rates: community colleges and for-profit four-year colleges.
“The high concentrations of low-income students at for-profit, four-year colleges and public two-year colleges indicates these institutions are doing the heavy lifting in promoting equality of opportunity,” Gillen writes.
More than 80 percent of aid-receiving community college students are from families making less than $48,000; most come from families with less than $30,000.
Low-income students are less likely to enroll at public four-year schools and very scarce at private nonprofit four-year colleges. At private non profits, “about one-third of students who receive federal aid are from families making more than $110,000 a year. At these more-selective schools, there are as many students in this high-income category as those from households earning under $30,000 a year.”