Exploration of why smart, low-income students don't apply to elite schools hits home

| 19 Mar 2015 | 02:06

To the Editor:
To coincide with notification season, when college admissions officers send out their letters of acceptance or rejection, NPR presented on Monday, March 16 a special segment, "Why Many Smart, Low-Income Students Don't Apply to Elite Schools." It was "about a big group of seniors who could get into great schools but don't apply: high-achieving students from low-income families who live outside of America's big cities." It has special relevance to Delaware Valley, whence grads rarely attend top colleges.

From NPR's investigators come three findings. One, that high-achieving, low-income students who don't apply to selective colleges — those with concentrations of educational resources, including money — end up paying more for their post-secondary degrees than those who do. Two, that graduates of top-ranked colleges and univerities earn on average half a million dollars more over their lifetimes than those who go to lesser-ranked schools. Three, that "guidance counselors are a big reason low-income high achievers aim low when it comes to applying to college. Your typical guidance counselor in the United States has about 400 students with whom he or she is trying to deal. And they're doing the best they can. Counselors may not have gone to selective colleges themselves."

That last point is particularly salient with regard to Delaware Valley, where Guidance Director Wanda Holtzer last year, when I raised these issues, assured the community that "We're doing fine at Delaware Valley."

I was talking about the students.

Anthony Splendora