Study Affirms HC's Commitment to Socioeconomic Diversity
College Ranks 7th Among Peers
By Mike Debraggio, Executive Director of Communications
January 12, 2004
Hamilton College placed seventh nationally among high-ranking liberal arts colleges in the percentage of its students who receive Pell Grants, according to a recently released analysis of U.S. Department of Education data.
"The analysis is significant because it affirms Hamilton's commitment to socioeconomic diversity among its student body," said Acting Dean of Admission and Financial Aid Lora Schilder.
The analysis was reported in the Autumn 2003 issue of The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education. JBHE also placed an advertisement in the Jan. 9, 2004, issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education under the headline, "Scoring the Nation's Leading Colleges and Universities on Their Success in Educating Low-Income Students."
JBHE used data from the Pell Grant program, which the editors described as "the bedrock federal aid program for low-income students." The program was established 30 years ago.
"Pell Grants, which provide up to $4,050 for students from low-income families," the JBHE editors wrote, "are awarded to undergraduate college students by the federal government upon calculations of family size, income, and assets that could be used to finance education as well as on projected tuition costs. In almost all cases, students from families with incomes above $35,000 are ineligible for Pell Grants. More than one half of all Pell Grant recipients come from families that have incomes under $15,000."
According to JBHE's analysis, 15.2 percent of Hamilton's undergraduates received Pell Grants in the academic year that began in the fall of 2001. The percentage placed Hamilton seventh among top-ranked liberal arts colleges behind Smith College (1st, 24.7 percent), Oberlin (3rd, 16.9 percent), Bryn Mawr (5th, 15.7 percent) and Amherst (6th, 15.5 percent), and ahead of Vassar (14th, 12.8 percent), Colgate (17th, 10.5 percent), Williams (20th, 9.1 percent), Middlebury (22nd, 8.5 percent) and Washington & Lee (25th, 3.4 percent).
When considering national research universities, Hamilton's percentage placed it behind the University of California-Berkeley (1st, 36.0 percent), Columbia (2nd, 17.2 percent) and Cornell (3rd, 16.5 percent), and ahead of Stanford (6th, 13.3 percent), the University of Pennsylvania (12th, 12.3 percent), Yale (20th, 9.9 percent), Harvard (21st, 9.8 percent) and Princeton (25th, 7.7 percent).
According to JBHE, "Many small liberal arts colleges with strong endowments also appear to enroll far more low-income students than colleges in the Ivy League. … At Mount Holyoke, Amherst, Oberlin, Wellesley, Hamilton, and Bryn Mawr, the percentage of low-income students is double the figure prevailing at Princeton and significantly higher than the rate at five other Ivy League schools."
"We're pleased that this analysis helps validate Hamilton's reputation as a school of opportunity for academically talented students from families of modest means," said Schilder.
For the current first-year class at Hamilton, approximately 60 percent received financial aid, with an average aid package of $24,030. Hamilton is spending approximately $17.2 million this year on institutionally funded student aid to ensure a socioeconomically diverse student body.