The new prize will give monetary support to colleges who admit lower-income students.
There are a lot of reasons to admit high-income students to 4-year colleges and universities: fewer scholarship dollars, more alumni participation, and the fact that these groups will "fit in" better with the landscape of the college. It has been found that admitting students of lower means has resulted in lower college ratings, something that many have tried to fight over the years. However, the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation is challenging that idea and rewarding colleges that admit students from different socioeconomic statuses. The prize? $1 million dollars for the college, free of strings.
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The inaugural winner is Vassar College, and many other colleges are look to follow suit. That amount of money is a huge prize and can be used to make many positive changes on campus.
Vassar was a great choice because 1 in 4 Vassar students come on a Pell Grant, In analysis done by the foundation, Vassar did the most to not only bring these students to campus, but to make them feel comfortable and safe enough to keep them there. While part of this was through large scholarships, it also had to do with on-campus programming. The college has said it will use the money to expand the orientation program, which helps students make friends and become acquainted with the campus.
Some of the other colleges considered were: Harvard, Amherst, Pomona, University of North Carolina, Delaware, and Tennessee.