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Harvard Initiative To Encourage Low-Income Students To Apply To Top Schools

BOSTON — Harvard College on Thursday announced an outreach initiative to encourage students from lower-income households to apply to and attend college, “whether at Harvard or at other selective institutions.”

The school details:

[S]tudents and staff working with the Harvard College Connection will urge students to consider flagship public institutions and other public and private colleges in their home areas that have high graduation rates and supportive advising.

The initiative, which begins this fall, will utilize social media and other Internet communications, as well as in-person efforts, to reach prospective low-income applicants.

The Harvard effort is the latest response to recent research that found, as The New York Times reported last month, “that most low-income students with high test scores and grades do not even apply to, let alone attend, select colleges.”

Harvard adds, citing further research:

About a third of high-achieving high school seniors from the bottom quarter of America’s income distribution attended one of the 238 most selective colleges in a recent year, compared with 78 percent of those from the top quarter.

To address the applicant gap, the College Board, the group that administers the SAT, began its own outreach campaign earlier this fall. The College Board is partnering with Harvard to share the results of the Harvard College Connection program.

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