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Catholic Colleges Tell Poor Students: Go Somewhere Else

At Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., officials sometimes bring in low-income applicants and their families for counseling — not to encourage them to come there, but to suggest they consider going somewhere cheaper.

The university needs to spend its financial aid to attract “higher-end students,” said W. Michael Hendricks, vice president for enrollment management — the kind of high-achieving, wealthy students universities typically try to entice because they improve prestige and bolster the bottom line.

Besides, said Hendricks, the school’s Catholic identity makes it hesitant to burden low-income families with debt. “It totally flies in the face of our mission.”