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Building A Stratified Society

Remember this whenever someone complains about affirmative action:

College freshmen wealthier, study says

By James M. O'Neill, Bloomberg | April 10, 2007

U.S. college freshmen are wealthier than at any point in the past 35 years, and the income gap is widening between their families and the rest of the nation, a study indicates.

This academic year's entering class came from families with income 60 percent greater than the national median, as tuition increases shut out lower-income students, the Higher Education Research Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles, said in a report Monday. The gap was 46 percent in 1971, according to the study of more than 8 million students over 40 years.

The findings, based on the biggest and longest-running survey of college students, may buttress criticism from members of Congress over the increasing cost of a college education. Tuition and fees have risen 35 percent so far this decade at public four-year institutions and 11 percent at their private counterparts, the researchers said, citing College Board figures.

"Students from wealthier families can endure greater fluctuations in 'sticker price' than poorer students," José Luis Santos, a UCLA professor and co-author of the report, said in a statement. "As a result, more students entering college come from homes that are increasingly wealthier than the national median income."


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