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Sep 19, 2014 04:29 AM EDT

Most American Colleges Lack Economic Diversity, Report


Most private colleges are demanding huge tuition from poor students and granting federal aids to their wealthy class fellows, according to a new report by New America Foundation.

The researchers said that majority of American colleges have introduced merit scholarships to students with good grades or test scores, while charging high prices to students from low-income families. The practice initiated at private colleges is fast spreading to public universities as well.

For example, in 2012, 69 percent of private colleges asked students, whose families earned $30,000 or less, to pay more than half of that salary for tuition. On the other hand, six percent of these students at public colleges paid $15,000 or more.

For the study, the researchers examined data of 479 private colleges last year to determine whether students with household incomes of $30,000 or less pay tuition after receiving financial aid. They found that the percentage of poor students reimbursing more than half of their family income has increased from 61 to 66 percent.

"Too many four-year colleges, both public and private, are failing to help the government achieve its college-access mission," the report said. "Schools are perpetuating inequality by limiting college access only to those who are rich enough to afford it," Businessweek reports.

The report also found that Pell Grant recipients, who belong to families earning less than $60,000 per year, constitute a small percentage at elite colleges and universities.

For example, Baylor University provides rebates to rich students and denies financial support to poorer students. A third of wealthy Baylor freshmen are awarded an average of $13,000 by the school. On the other hand, low-income students pay over 70 percent of their family income to the University.

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