20 June 2022
Great Colleges for First Generation/Low Income Applicants
Are you a first generation/low income applicant looking for a great place to get a college education?
While the natural tendency may be to simply look at your local public university, it might in fact not be the most affordable choice or the one that gives you the best chance to graduate on time. On the flip side, there may be private schools worth considering with great financial aid and high graduation rates, but if these institutions lack socioeconomic diversity and the critical support services and community to help you adjust, they may be poor fits as well.
Using data gathered from the U.S. Department of Education's College Scorecard, we’ve developed a list of approximately 30 institutions where Pell-eligible students have an opportunity to thrive without compromise. Each institution features healthy socioeconomic diversity, high graduation rates, good support programs and low debt at graduation.
Click on Continue Reading to learn more about the schools that make the cut.
Great Colleges for First Generation/Low Income Applicants
Our methodology leverages Pell-specific data pulled from the May 2, 2022 version of the College Scorecard and rewards institutions with higher graduation rates for Pell Grant recipients, higher percentages of Pell Grant undergraduate recipients, and lower median debt for Pell Grant recipients. To ensure “balance” across each of these metrics, we focused solely on institutions with at least 20% Pell grant recipients, Pell graduation rates of 75% or better, and debt at graduation of no more than $25,000. This brought our initial list of nearly 1,600 institutions down to roughly 30 public and private schools across the nation.
The following fields are included for each entry in the list to help you better understand each college’s benefits for low income students:
- Academic Profile. To help you assess academic fit, we’ve included the overall admission rate and mid-50th percentile test score breakdowns for each institution listed.
- % Pell. This represents the percentage of undergraduates who receive a Pell Grant at each institution to get a sense for the socioeconomic diversity. Having a larger population of Pell students is important to fostering community and support for low income students in college.
- Pell Graduation Rate. Graduation rates are important to determine which schools have higher percentages of students not only admitted, but also finishing and receiving their degree and diploma in timely fashion. This field shows the percentage of students who received a Pell Grant at each institution who graduated in 6 years.
- Pell Debt. Massive student debt can exert enormous pressure on graduates for many years after they complete college. This field represents the median debt at graduation for Pell Grant students.
- Resources. Support programs are essential to help low income students succeed during their college years, whether it be for academics, mental health or career services. This section highlights the types of support resources available for low income students offered at each college using the college’s website, including:
- Mentoring. Support from older students and teachers in the form of mentoring is important for having guidance to opportunities and resources for low income students in college.
- Community. Meeting other low income students is another great way to form a community and relax from school/work commitments while getting to know other students.
- Networking/Career Services. While forming a community while in college is important, looking to future careers and job applications is a daunting task. We looked for colleges that provide good networking opportunities to meet professionals and comprehensive career services specifically for low income students to ensure they get support if they seek it.
- Funding. Unpaid internships or summer courses can be a great way explore career options or complete requirements necessary for graduation, but oftentimes these opportunities are fiscally out of reach. We looked for colleges that provide funding for these kinds of opportunities for low income students to be able to access them.
|Sinaya Joshi is a graduate from The Harker School’s Class of 2022 who will be attending UCLA this fall.|
Great Colleges for First Generation/Low Income Students
College Kickstart LLC
|Institution||State||Admit Rate (%)||Mid 50 SAT/ACT||% Pell||Pell Grad %||Pell Debt||Resources||Resource Link|
|California State University - Long Beach||CA||34||1020-1230
|Lake Forest College||IL||58||1100-1280
|Saint Marys College||IN||82||1070-1250
|St. Marys College of Maryland||MD||77||1140-1330
|State University of New York - Environmental Science and Forestry||NY||70||1120-1300
|Texas A&M University||TX||64||1160-1370
|University of Texas - Austin||TX||29||1230-1480
|University of California - Davis||CA||49||1160-1370
|University of California - Irvine||CA||29||1240-1410
|University of California - Los Angeles||CA||11||1290-1510
|University of California - San Diego||CA||34||1280-1460
|University of Florida||FL||29||1310-1450
|University of Illinois - Urbana Champaign||IL||60||1340-1510
|University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill||NC||19||1330-1500
|University of Washington - Bothell||WA||83||1030-1280
|University of Washington||WA||53||1240-1450
|University of Washington - Tacoma||WA||83||900-1150
|Wheaton College - IL||IL||87||1230-1430
- Tags: Bard, Beloit, Cal State Long Beach, Clark, Columbia, Cornell College, Florida, Gettysburg, Kalamazoo, Lake Forest, Saint Mary's College, Simmons, Smith College, St_ Mary's MD, SUNY - ESF, Swarthmore, Texas A&M, UC Davis, UC Irvine, UC San Diego, UCLA, UNC Chapel Hill, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Washington, University of Washington - Bothell, University of Washington - Tacoma, UT Austin, Vassar, Wellesley, Westmont, Wheaton, Willamette