Magazine article University Business

Education as Equalizer

Magazine article University Business

Education as Equalizer

Article excerpt

TED LONG, PRESIDENT OF ELIZABETHTOWN COLLEGE, A SCHOOL OF 1,600 students in central Pennsylvania, has seen many students go from economic struggle to success thanks to higher education. "It is a way for them to essentially move up the ladder compared to their parents," he says of lower-income students. "We have an alumnus in New York who is already vice president for an investment company, managing the energy portfolio, and he's supervising folks from Stanford and Harvard. He came from an ordinary background. There are stories like that all the time."

Such anecdotal evidence of the power of a degree is now backed by data from the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania (AICUP), which surveyed 16,000 graduates of the Class of 1999 five years after their graduation from 46 Pennsylvania private colleges and universities. The survey returned findings on several areas, but clearly showed that low-income students (those who received Pell Grants) enjoyed similar rates of success five years out of college as those who came from wealthier backgrounds. "This is what we all hope that education will do," says Don Francis, president of AICUP. …

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