Study on Low-Income Applicants and Admissions

March 21, 2017

When college admissions officers have more information about the high schools attended by low-income applicants, those applicants are more likely to be admitted, according to a study published in the new issue of Educational Researcher (abstract available here). In the study, 311 admissions officers from competitive-admissions colleges reviewed fictional applications from students with different socioeconomic backgrounds, and with different levels of information about the high schools. The officers who had more information about the high schools (frequently showing the limited opportunities for taking advanced courses at the high schools attended by low-income applicants) were 13 to 14 percentage points more likely to recommend admitting low-income applicants. The study was done by Michael N. Bastedo of the University of Michigan and Nicholas Bowman of the University of Iowa.

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