Poor and Rich: Student Economic Stratification and Academic Performance in a Public Research University System
Article first published online: 9 JAN 2012
© 2012 The Authors. Higher Education Quarterly © 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Higher Education Quarterly
Volume 66, Issue 1, pages 65–89, January 2012
How to Cite
Douglass, J. and Thomson, G. (2012), Poor and Rich: Student Economic Stratification and Academic Performance in a Public Research University System. Higher Education Quarterly, 66: 65–89. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2273.2011.00511.x
- Issue published online: 9 JAN 2012
- Article first published online: 9 JAN 2012
One sees various efforts in developed as well as in developing economies to seek a greater participation of lower-income students in their nation's leading universities. Once lower-income students do enroll in a highly selective institution, what happens to them? How well do they do academically when compared to their more wealthy counterparts? How integrated are they into the academic community and in their satisfaction with their choice and sense of support by the institution and fellow students? These are crucial questions, if and when élite universities in various parts of the world become more representative of their general population; the stated desire of most of these institution, virtually all of which are nationally funded entities that must justify their public subsidies. This paper explores the divide between poor and rich students, first comparing a group of selective US institutions and their number and percentage of Pell Grant recipients and then, using institutional data and results from the University of California, Student Experience in the Research University Survey (SERU Survey), presenting an analysis of the high percentage of low-income undergraduate students within the University of California system; who they are, their academic performance and quality of their undergraduate experience.