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Onward and Upward! College and Mobility: How’s that working out?

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Sunday’s NYT Opinion page has a very interesting article:  How to Level the College Playing Field with specific actions that can be taken through public and college policies and practices. The article is by Harold Levy, former Chancellor of New York Public Schools, and Peg Tyre, Education Journalist.

In the article were references to The Equality of Opportunity Project and their quest: How can we improve economic opportunities for our children? We use big data to identify new pathways to upward mobility.

And indeed they have used big data. And what it compares is percentage enrollment by income percentile by students and their mobility after graduation by income percentile … the payoff for a college education. Which schools do better? Which do worst? Are some colleges the work horses of the working class to upward mobility?

Here is the study as reported in The Times.  And here is the Williams data.

Heavy analysis of statistical data is not my long suit (you have probably noticed). But these data require reading and conclusions by experienced hands. Perhaps there may be some thoughts to pass on to the college administrators.

I look forward to reading your views.



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#1 Comment By frank uible On April 9, 2018 @ 1:28 pm

My scooter is better than yours, and the Scooter Report says so!

#2 Comment By abl On April 9, 2018 @ 1:50 pm

Interesting post! Some quick-hitting thoughts:

* ~12% seems pretty standard for top schools. Williams probably doesn’t lag in a meaningful respect behind its peers.

* ~12% of students from the bottom 40% income is atrocious. For a variety of reasons, we probably shouldn’t expect the Williams income demographics to exactly reflect the population as a whole. That said, it’s hard for me to imagine that there isn’t a disproportionately large group of potential students who should be applying to WIlliams (/matriculating) but are not.

* As a normative matter, I think Williams would be both academically better and more interesting if more of these students came to Williams. I also think that broadening the base of communities that consider Williams would benefit the college in other ways.

* Programs like Questbridge help. College fairs and outreach help. Good financial aid policies help. (As do simple financial aid policies — bring back no-loans aid packages!) Williams is doing most of this already. What more can Williams do, other than more of the above?

#3 Comment By JCD 📌 On April 9, 2018 @ 4:07 pm

UCLA has been good to me and my lower middle class white family. My father and two of my brothers graduated from there. My father was a government employee, a safety inspector. A WWII veteran, my dad was the first in his family to graduate from college. One brother worked as an engineer for NASA. The other is an elementary school principal. My father and both my brothers got through UCLA without getting any financial support from their parents. I’m kind of proud to see UCLA leading the pack in terms of looking our for the forgotten American.

#4 Comment By frank uible On April 11, 2018 @ 8:48 am

Williams would improve the composition of its student body by drawing all of its acceptances out of a hat full of all of its applications. Also the process would be more democratic (small d) than the current one.