Post 6: Social Economic status and college

I wrote about my social economic status last week and where my family stands on the “ladder”. This post will be summarizing and comparing my experience to those who were featured in the articles.

First I’d like to start off with some information about low income students from the first article:

  • 74% Percent of low-income were more likely to state they were working to pay off college
  • 73% were more likely to live with their parent than on campus
  • College students from working-class backgrounds are also more likely to experience academic disengagement and a less welcoming campus climate for social class
  • Researchers have found that economic capital, social capital, and students’ habitus inhibit low-income and working-class college students from participating in extracurricular activities
  • Here’s a fact that surprised me the most: By age 24, only 12% of people were from low-income families earned a baccalaureates degree compared to 73% of people with higher-income.

On to the next article, this article is about a Julio Aves, a college director for the writing department who was himself a first generation student, describing the characteristics of low-income students at the college he teaches. Many of those who are from low income families are usually also students of color and first generation students. A common theme observed is that many students from urban areas are not fully receiving the preparation needed for college and are often behind compared to students from suburban areas. Students have trouble with writing courses (grammar and such) and understanding reading materials. Sandy, a student featured in the article is from an urban neighborhood (like me), where the majority of the population are people from different cultural backgrounds. Coming to a college where many of the students are “White” is a drastic change. Aves is disappointed that over the 30 years since he graduated from college, little to nothing has changed in the system to help students like Sandy navigate through the post-secondary education system.


Both articles suggest solutions on aiding low-income students and their disadvantages at colleges such as:

  • Careers services reaching out to students for career opportunities
  • Financial aid offices developing services and programs to help monitor finances and concerns of low-income students.
  • Having personal, individualized support for those of low-income
“Elite colleges and universities need to make up their minds about how they want to conceptualize low-income students. Are they burdens or assets? Deficient or eager learners? I have doubts about whether elite liberal-arts colleges and universities are willing to do what it takes to enable all students to succeed, and do it quickly enough. Doing it means swift curricular revolution and radical resource reallocation. Admitting low-income students to elite colleges and universities without the will to reimagine the educational experience is, in my humble opinion, cruel and defeating, a feeble gesture to assuage historical guilt. It ought not to be done.” — Juilio Aves

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