Over the past half-century, many elite institutions have tried to adopt policies of ignoring financial considerations in admissions decisions; applicants’ ability to pay tuition should not impact the decision to admit or deny them.

For elite schools that meet 100% of the demonstrated need, this can be an expensive admissions policy. More recently, a small number of schools have offered full scholarships covering tuition, room and board for students coming from families with incomes below $60,000. The number of low-income students–and diversity among the student body–is slowly increasing, in some part thanks to these programs.

But these well-intentioned initiatives have produced somewhat disappointing results. A recent study by researchers at the Equality of Opportunity Project based on anonymous tuition records and tax filings reveals that Princeton, Yale, Dartmouth, Penn and Brown have more students from the top 1 percent of the income distribution than from the bottom 60 percent.

This same study reveals that the number of middle-income students in these schools is decreasing as the upper- and lower-income ratios increase.

Why are middle class students so scarce on Ivy League campuses? If you are a middle class family, what can you do to make an Ivy League education more affordable? Listen to our latest episode to hear us discuss this topic!

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