Underprivileged students have always had a great amount of public attention. For this reason, high efficient universities are actively forced to enrol this type of listeners. It is not always done the right way, as a new investigation results tell. This investigation was made by two professors of the economics of two commendable universities:

  1. Caroline M. Hoxby from Leland Stanford Junior University;
  2. Sarah Turner from the University of Virginia.

At the beginning of their inquiry, the professors made a conclusion that the easiest way for any college or university to carry a favour is to let low-income students apply. The idea becomes obvious when you learn, that students from this layer without high achievements prefer not to choose the educational establishment because of their conviction in the futility of this.

Instead of making thorough and complex planning, as it was insistently recommended by those two professors, the colleges started enrolling low-income students at a high pace. As a result, the number of students grew rapidly as the total meaning of this procedure went down even faster. The approach was not comprehended.

Incorrect estimation

Caroline M. Hoxby said that the main thought was misunderstood and people never tried to figure out the reason at this investigation.

Hoxby and Turner disagree with the existing system of college estimation. As they claim the university should not be called effective only because of a large number of listeners with the minimal financial provision and whose needs are covered mostly by any state student-aid program.

The student’s income growth does not necessarily depend on university they graduate from, the professors claim. In contrary, Raj Chetty develops an opposite method – the measurement of population transportability, which claims reverse and keeps the college in good favour as it is proven to be effective statistically.

A shortcoming of intergenerational-mobility measurement

If the college does not serve enough students from the low-income group of the population it gets a penalty. Considering this and the fact that every area of the country has a different percentage of needy students, the inference of the method seems inaccurate, as the professors have noticed. The percentage of different layers of population changes with time and area, when the efficiency of colleges is estimated equally.

According to Hoxby and Turner, the external situation affects stronger on the gratification than the actions of a certain university. The professor’s counteroffer is to extend the existing method of splitting the state’s population income status into five parts (quintiles) and divide it into 20 parts instead. Universities are not informed precisely in the composition of the incoming group when using a quintiles system, because they may enrol two students with practically opposite welfare but from the same bottom quintile.

According to Hoxby and Turner’s research, actually needy students are but a few parts of this bottom quintile. So if the main purpose of the university is to enrol as much of “bottomers” as possible, the ones in much need won’t get a Pell Grant or even a place in college.

There is no goal to criticize institutions in their desire to represent students from all income-layers, say Hoxby and Turner. They don’t try to incline colleges to make one or another decision about enrollment. The investigation is performed to assist with compiling an incoming program in colleges and let them make a more fair decision on admission to study.