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Roughly 86,000 Pell Grant recipients score at or above the median on standardized tests for students at selective colleges but do not attend those institutions, according to a new analysis from Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce. Instead, a majority of Pell recipients attend open-access colleges with relatively low graduation rates, the report found.

"Highly qualified Pell Grant students are being turned away from the opportunity for an elite college education, which is more and more open only to the wealthy," Anthony Carnevale, director of the Georgetown Center and lead author of the report, said in a written statement.

While many suggest that Pell recipients fail to be admitted to selective colleges because of their qualifications, the center found that these students -- when admitted -- tend to graduate at the same rate as all students. In addition, the report said that Pell recipients who score above the median on the SAT (1120) but do not attend a selective college are overwhelmingly white.