How Students' Economic Diversity Varies by College Type

February 03, 2015

Income inequality in higher education has widened over the last 45 years. That’s the case made in a report released on Tuesday by the Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education and the University of Pennsylvania's Alliance for Higher Education and Democracy.

The report, “Indicators of Higher Education Equity in the United States,” uses government data to illustrate disparities in the educational experience of students from different family-income backgrounds. It also includes strategies for making higher education more equitable.

Here’s one of the many charts featured in the report. It shows what share of dependent students come from each income group at different kinds of colleges. As you can see, low-income students enroll disproportionately in for-profit and two-year public colleges, while high-income students enroll disproportionately in colleges that grant doctoral degrees.