- Adrian College President Jeffrey Docking says smaller liberal art schools are more effective at enrolling, educating less affluent students.
- According to federal data, elite institutions controlling the majority of the nation's endowed funds only enroll 15% of the nation's Pell grant-eligible students.
- Docking argues the larger endowments of the wealthier, more elite schools are not translating to better outcomes for students, who are still carrying debt loads similar to those at institutions with fewer resources.
Many studies have outlined the impact of academic mismatch, and the prospects missed by students from lower-income families attending open access or lower-selectivity institutions. But many of the elite institutions only admit the highest-performing students from a wide cross-section of economic classification, and rarely run the risk of non-completion or financial stop-out.
Ultimately, all schools seeking to receive federal funds are expected to increase metrics of success for students, particularly in paying off student debt and earning gainful employment. While smaller liberal arts schools do offer social mobility to a wider pool of students, they will also have to find ways to decrease the number of academic casualties yielded by the nature of their missions.