In The New York Times, 9/26/2013, David Leonhardt writes about the College Board's initiative to being more effective at identifying and facilitating talented but poor or otherwise disadvantaged high school students to consider not only college, but elite colleges—and more.
This is a trend that will affect many institutions in ways planners should be thinking about:
[T]he College Board, is sending a package of information on top colleges to every senior who has an SAT or Preliminary SAT score in the top 15 percent of test takers and whose family is in the bottom quarter of income distribution. The package, which includes application fee waivers to six colleges of the student’s choice, will be sent to roughly 28,000 seniors.
The program is the largest response so far to new research showing that most low-income students with high test scores and grades do not even apply to, let alone attend, select colleges. Forgoing significant financial aid, many students may instead enroll in nearby colleges with low graduation rates. ...
The College Board’s information packets are modeled on those sent in a recent experiment by Caroline M. Hoxby of Stanford and Sarah E. Turner of the University of Virginia, economists whose findings suggested that application fee waivers greatly influenced students’ decisions.
Among high-achieving, low-income students in the experiment who received a packet, 54 percent ultimately won admission to one of the nation’s 238 top colleges; among similar students who did not get a packet, 30 percent were admitted.