Ranking the Nation’s Top Universities in Their Commitment to Enroll Low-Income Students

For several years JBHE has been tracking the percentage of low-income students at the nation’s leading colleges and universities. We believe that it is important to measure the progress made at these educational institutions in enrolling more low-income students as an indication of their overall commitment to increase economic and racial diversity on their campuses.

The latest data from the U.S. Department of Education shows that low-income students have a small presence on the campuses of most of the nation’s highest-ranked universities. At the University of California at Berkeley and the University of California at Los Angeles, low-income students make up more than 31 percent of all students. But at none of the nation’s other universities ranked in the top 30 academically do low-income students make up as much as 17 percent of the student body.

Among the 30 highest-ranked universities, Washington University in St. Louis has the lowest percentage of students who receive Pell Grants. Wake Forest University, the University of Virginia, and the University of Notre Dame all have student bodies where less than 9 percent receive Pell Grants.