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Sunday, January 22, 2017

Elitist Schools

Some schools have lots of students from the elite. Mine (no surprise to those here) is one of them, as highlighted in a NYTimes "The Upshot" article. In contrast W&L does a poor job in recruiting students whose families are not well off. We do have a pool of money for full-ride scholarships, but the most visible of those, the Johnson scholarships, are need-blind. That program has helped us recruit students who contribute in and out of the classroom to the university in a way I believe is constructive. However, it is not structured to target applicants with financial need, and some of the recipients come from families with lots of money. Since I'm not a student, I can't provide an inside picture of how the income distribution affects student life. There are certainly some students insensitive to this, who assume that their classmates can spend $50 without needing to plan ahead. But in traveling with students to Detroit for a week in my "short (Spring) term" auto industry class, the groups as a whole have been generally been sensitive to the presence of students who can't afford an expensive night out.