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UC System Excels in Graduating Poor Students

The idea is clear, simple, and generally agreed upon: Colleges need to do more when it comes to enrolling and graduating low-income students. If college degrees are “the great equalizer”—though some research has disputed that characterization—then expanding access to those degrees will help make society more equal. Are any colleges succeeding in doing that?

A new report from Third Way, a center-left think tank, tries to answer that question—and the results for many colleges are not pretty. One of the most common ways to understand how colleges are serving low-income students is by looking at how well they are helping students who are eligible to receive Pell Grants, or need-based federal grants for low-income students. Three-quarters of Pell Grant recipients come from families that make less than $40,000 a year.