UC Berkeley, for instance, enrolls more low income students than the entire ivy league combined. 44% of UC San Diego undergraduates qualify for Pell grants.
I knew people at UCSD who were trying to major in computer science while working 20+ hours a week at Nordstrom or the Tie Rack at the local mall to pay the rent. There was some financial aid available, but not enough to cover the gap. There are plenty of rich kids at UCSD as well, but there's a big mix.
I understand that when two high seniors in a wealthy school district bump into each other in the hallway and get out their measuring tapes -er- acceptance letters, UCSD isn't considered especially elite. But if we lose a computer science student who got into UCSD because he couldn't keep up with the need to survive financially while passing compilers, vector calculus, physics, and a GE elective, we have lost an elite student.
I'm glad I saw this up close and understood the problems it causes. I actually think that it may be a problem at Ivy League schools that students are so far removed from this problem - they meet fewer low income students, and those they do meet are well funded. Do they meet the student who is struggling with the financial aid application because her father is claiming her as a dependent but isn't actually giving her any financial support? I know two young women in this spot, one who gave up on pre-med at least in part because of tough financial problems.
Going to college with a large number of low income students at a school that is not quite as capable of funding them as an Ivy League opened my eyes to a lot. In particular, I'm galled by the claims of large silicon valley companies that there is an engineer shortage. I'm all for skilled immigration, but how does it strike you that a government and corporate elite bleating about a skills shortage is willing to watch a talented young student get bounced from a compacted CS department while working 30 hours a week at nordstrom? All while state funding is dramatically reduced?
" Do they meet the student who is struggling with the financial aid application because her father is claiming her as a dependent but isn't actually giving her any financial support?"
Having been in a situation similar to this, I can say that this sucks. A lot. Thank you for understanding. Most people just look down on and blame people who can't afford school, because they'd prefer to think that they got their own degrees through nothing but hard work, when it's instead partly to highly dependent on what sort of parents you have, these days.