Tag archive for "low income students"

Admissions, Apply to College, Money, Resources

How Do Colleges that Allow Self-Reported Test Scores Help Me?

No Comments 08 December 2017

Applying for colleges gets expensive. It’s not even really large fees that do it, it’s the nickel-and-diming that goes on. There’s the $25 for this application, the $30 for this application here, the gas cost to visit schools… It adds up. There’s one less cost you’ll have to worry about, though, because the number of colleges allowing you to self-report your test scores is increasing!

So, let’s break down what that means. When you take your ACT or SAT, you have a limited number of colleges that they’ll send your results out to, and you have to indicate them within so many days for each test. After that time period has passed, it can cost up to $13 dollars each time you want to send your scores to a college, depending on whether you go through The College Board or ACT. Most colleges currently require that you send official transcripts when submitting your application, and that’s just for consideration. That means that if you apply to six or eight schools, you can end up dishing out almost a full $100 just to be considered. That may not be an option for you, and you shouldn’t be hindered in the application process just because you can’t afford to send test scores to every school you want to apply to.

All of these fees can really add up, and self-reporting helps reduce that!

This is where self-reporting comes in. Institutions, like Colby College, have been allowing students to self-report scores since last year, and it works like this: when you fill out your application, you mark your ACT or SAT score yourself. They’ll consider you based on the information you’ve provided, and, once you’re accepted, and have chosen that college in return, only then will you be required to send over the official transcripts. The first year of self-reported test scores for colleges reportedly went exceedingly well — the concerns about honesty regarding test scores were proven to be totally unfounded. Every student had reported their scores accurately. This opens up more doors for students who come from low-income families, and the trend is catching! 

The University of Washington is the latest addition to the list of over 25 colleges now accepting self-reported test scores, and we at College Greenlight are over the moon about this gap-bridging process! Check out the current list of colleges accepting self-reported test scores in the nifty table below. An ever-growing list of schools participating in this movement is available in this Google Doc maintained by Gabrielle McColgan, the Director of College Counseling at Castilleja School in Palo Alto. We hope more and more institutions are added, effectively opening up more options for you!

Keep in mind that some colleges also allow counselors to report scores to colleges as part of an unofficial process to help low-income students, and a complete list of those institutions is available here. It’s constantly updated by the Princeton Review, so check back periodically. Importantly, never hesitate to call the school you’re interested in applying to and ask how they can make applying affordable! Listed below is just a taste of the colleges you’ll find on the full document, so check out all of your options!


Amherst Collegehttps://www.amherst.edu/admission/apply/firstyear/testing
Augustana Collegehttps://augustana.net/x65310.xml
Babson Collegehttp://www.babson.edu/admission/undergraduate/applying-to-babson/Pages/standardized-testing.aspx
Baylor Universityhttps://www.baylor.edu/admissions/index.php?id=872011
Birmingham-Southern Collegehttps://www.bsc.edu/admission/apply.html
Bowdoin Collegehttp://www.bowdoin.edu/admissions/apply/testing-policy.shtml
Carroll Collegehttps://www.carroll.edu/admission-aid/apply
Catawba Collegehttp://catawba.edu/news-events/news/college-news/catawba-college-announces-enhanced-initiatives-assist-applicants/
Champlain Collegehttps://www.champlain.edu/admissions/undergraduate-admissions/how-to-apply-undergraduate/first-year-applicants
Colby Collegehttps://www.colby.edu/admission/apply/first-year/
Colgate Universityhttp://www.colgate.edu/admission-financial-aid/apply/first-year-applicant-checklist
Colorado Collegehttps://www.coloradocollege.edu/admission/application/instructions/
Columbia Universityhttps://undergrad.admissions.columbia.edu/apply/first-year/testing
Dickinson Collegehttp://www.dickinson.edu/homepage/279/apply
Florida State Universityhttp://admissions.fsu.edu/counselors/
Georgia Techhttp://admission.gatech.edu/freshman/standardized-tests
Hampden-Sydney College (VA)http://www.hsc.edu/admissions-and-financial-aid/apply
Harvey Mudd Collegehttps://www.hmc.edu/admission/2017/11/07/harvey-mudd-now-accepting-self-reported-test-scores/
Illinois State Universityhttp://admissions.illinoisstate.edu/counselors/hs/requirements.php
Iowa State Universityhttps://www.admissions.iastate.edu/apply/faq.php
Johns Hopkins Universityhttps://apply.jhu.edu/standardized-test-information/
Kansas State Universityhttp://www.k-state.edu/undergradadmit/qualified_admissions_and_regulations/self_reporting.html
Kenyon Collegehttp://www.kenyon.edu/admissions-aid/how-to-apply/required-submission-of-standardized-testing-score-choice/
Lawrence Universityhttp://www.lawrence.edu/admissions/apply/what_we_consider
New York Institute of Technologyhttps://nyit.edu/admissions/first_year
Franklin W. Olin College of Engineeringhttp://www.olin.edu/admission/apply/process-requirements/
Pomona Collegehttps://www.pomona.edu/admissions/alerts
Saint Anselm Collegehttps://www.anselm.edu/how-apply/first-year-applicants
Southwestern Universityhttp://www.southwestern.edu/live/news/9766-application-faqs
Stanford Universityhttps://admission.stanford.edu/apply/freshman/testing.html
Stevenson Universityhttp://www.stevenson.edu/admissions-aid/admission-requirements/admissions-testing-guidelines.html
Swarthmore Collegehttps://www.swarthmore.edu/admissions-aid/standardized-testing-policy
Texas Christian Universityhttps://admissions.tcu.edu/apply/testing-policy/
University of Hawaii at Manoahttp://manoa.hawaii.edu/admissions/freshman.html
University of Chicagohttps://collegeadmissions.uchicago.edu/apply/application/standardizedtesting
University of Iowahttps://now.uiowa.edu/2012/07/ui-applicants-will-now-self-report
University of Kansashttps://admissions.ku.edu/freshman-requirements-deadlines/applying-to-ku
University of Northern Iowahttps://admissions.uni.edu/undergraduate-admissions-checklist
Washington University at St. Louishttps://admissions.wustl.edu/apply_site/Pages/Frequently-Asked-Questions.aspx
Williams Collegehttps://admission.williams.edu/apply/
Worcester Polytechnic Institutehttps://www.wpi.edu/admissions/undergraduate/apply/how-to/self-reported-test-scores


Admissions, Choosing A School, Diversity, Low Income Students

Best Colleges for Low-Income Students

No Comments 30 August 2017

Finding an affordable but high-quality college can be challenging for low-income and first-generation students. This article presents lists of public and private 4-year colleges, all of which have a low net price and a high graduation rate for low-income students.

Not only are these colleges affordable for low-income students, but the students are likely to graduate with an affordable amount of debt.


Students should consider a variety of colleges before they begin the application process. Historically, students from low-income backgrounds have applied to too few colleges, often enrolling at institutions that are not a good academic, social and financial fit. This leads to sub-optimal outcomes like low retention and graduation rates and high debt. Students should cast a wide net. Look at private and public institutions, in-state and out-of-state schools, and small and large colleges. Students should be encouraged to learn about colleges and universities you have never heard of before.

Every low-income student should consider their in-state public colleges, as those institutions will often be the most affordable option. In-state public colleges are also a good option because low-income students tend to choose colleges that are close to home. Students may be able to save on college costs by living at home with their families instead of on a college campus.

The net price for public colleges is based on the in-state tuition rates. The net price for out-of-state students may be much higher.

Low-income students should also consider private colleges with low net prices and high graduation rates. In some cases, generous private colleges can have a lower net price than some in-state public institutions.

For both public and private colleges, students should aim to have total student loan debt at graduation that is less than their annual starting salary. If total student loan debt is less than annual income, the student should be able to repay his or her student loans in ten years or less.


The lists of public and private colleges were identified using a combination of two factors:

  • Affordable. Affordability was based on the one-year net price for students with a family income of $0 to $30,000, using data from the 2013-14 Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). The net price is the discounted sticker price, the costs that remain after subtracting average grants, scholarships and other gift aid from the total cost of attendance. Only colleges with a net price under $12,500 were included.
  • Good Outcomes. Outcomes were based on the 6-year graduation rates for Federal Pell Grant recipients, using data from the Education Trust. The Federal Pell Grant is the largest need-based grant program, awarded mostly to low-income students. Only colleges with 6-year graduation rates of 50% or more were included. This ensures that low-income students at these colleges are more likely to graduate than not.

Some colleges were omitted because the Pell Grant recipient graduation rate data were not available. Examples include Brigham Young University – Provo, Columbia University in the City of New York, Cooper Union and Harvard University.

Several colleges with a reputation for serving low-income students did not satisfy the selection criteria because their net price for low-income students was too high.

We present the lists of recommended public and private colleges in two separate articles. The lists are expected to be stable from year to year.

Admissions, Choosing A School, Low Income Students

Economic Mobility in College

No Comments 06 April 2017

A study from the Equality of Opportunity Project revealed that elite colleges are more focused on being affordable to low-income families than expanding college accessibility.

“At elite colleges, the share of students from the bottom 40 percent has remained mostly flat for a decade. Access to top colleges has not changed much, at least when measured in quintiles,” according to the New York Times.

Low-income students admitted to elite institutions do not appear over placed because their earnings end up being similar to those from wealthier families. This finding debunks the concern that attending a selective college might be disadvantageous to low-income students.

Recent trends in college access show a decline in mobility rates at colleges that had high mobility rates and little change in mobility rates at elite colleges, despite their efforts to increase financial aid. This should call for a revaluation of policies at the national, state and college level.

The study recommends “considering changes in admissions criteria, expansions of transfers from the community college system, or outreach efforts targeted at promising students in primary school before they begin applying to college.”

Higher education often is viewed as the pathway to upward income mobility, which leads students to success. Restricted college accessibility could limit or completely stop colleges from promoting economic mobility among students.

Diversity, First Generation Students, Low Income Students

Spotlight on Chicago Scholars

No Comments 28 March 2017

Chicago Scholars is an organization that supports academically ambitious students who are first-generation college students and/or come from low-income households. This organization provides support to its participants during the three transitional periods that typically are the most difficult for first-generation students: the transition from high school to college, the years spent navigating college and the transition from college to career.

Students come from 88 high schools across the Chicago area and 84 percent of program participants from the class of 2021 are first-generation college students. About 91 percent of participants are students of color, with 96 percent of participants attending Chicago Public School high schools.

The first phase of the Chicago Scholars program, College Access: Launch, takes place the summer before a participant’s senior year of high school. This portion of the program allows students to receive help with the college application process, find a best match-fit college and begin to build leadership skills. Scholars are matched with an experienced college counselor who will mentor them for eight one-on-one sessions and guide them through college access workshops.

In October, students have the opportunity to participate in the Onsite Admissions Forum. Chicago Scholars’ more than 175 partner colleges come to Chicago to meet with Scholars and other qualified students from Chicago community-based organizations. Program attendees have the chance to interview with up to six of their best fit colleges, with many students receiving admissions decisions and merit aid scholarships that day.

Scholars begin the College Persistence: Lift portion of the program during their transition to college. Students are exposed to experiential learning, supportive relationships and leadership development so they will be empowered to be confident and self-efficient individuals in college. Participants can participate in a retreat and connect with a peer mentor to help them get through their first year of college.

The final portion of this program, College to Careers: Lead, provides Scholars with career planning and leadership development training that allows them to successfully move into the workforce. Students can participate in workshops and one-on-one training that allow them to explore career paths, write strong résumés and build interview and networking skills.

College Greenlight is a vital part of Chicago Scholars’ counseling and scholarship search process. Program participants learn about College Greenlight through workshops and they are encouraged to create profiles to assist them in meeting their scholarship application goals.

Chicago Scholars aims to create a supportive community and provide access to college resources that students might not have otherwise. If you are a college admissions representative and want to connect with this organization, email Rachel Accavitti at raccavitti@chicagoscholars.org.

First Generation Students, Low Income Students, Scholarships

Scholarships for Low-Income and First-Generation Students

No Comments 13 February 2017

Coming from a low-income household or being a first-generation college student can earn you money for college. Take a look at this list to see which scholarships you might be eligible for.

George Geng On Lee Minorities in Leadership Scholarship – This scholarship is for low-income, minority students from the San Francisco Bay area. Applicants must be enrolled as full-time undergraduate students at an accredited not-for-profit, four-year institution for the upcoming fall term. The award for this scholarship is typically $1,000.

Coca-Cola First Generation ScholarshipFirst-generation college students are eligible for this scholarship. This award is available at more than 400 colleges across the country. Contact the school you plan on attending to see if they offer this scholarship and how you might apply.

William F. Gandert Memorial Scholarship – This scholarship is for residents of federally assisted, low-income housing or recipients of Section 8 voucher rent assistance that demonstrate both merit and need. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents with a valid Social Security number, and demonstrate community leadership. Applicants only can apply for one scholarship offered by the NLHA Education Fund per application cycle.

The Villa Esperanza Scholarship – This scholarship is open to first-generation college students who have enrolled at Austin Community College, The University of Texas at Austin, St. Edward’s University, Concordia University, Huston-Tillotson, Texas State University or Southwestern University. The award for this scholarship is typically $2,000.

AIMCO Cares Opportunity Scholarship – This scholarship is for recipients of Section 8 voucher rent assistance that demonstrate both merit and need or residents of federally assisted low-income housing. Applicants must hold a minimum 2.5 GPA and be U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents with a valid Social Security number. Applicants only can apply for one scholarship offered by the NLHA Education Fund per application cycle.

I’m First Scholarship – This award is for a first-generation college student seeking financial aid and scholarship support for college, who has strong writing skills and a unique perspective and demonstrates leadership in their community. Undocumented students are eligible and strongly encouraged to apply. The award for this scholarship is typically $1,000.

Inland Empire Scholarship Fund – This scholarship is for low-income, high-achieving Latino students from San Bernardino and Riverside Counties in California. Applicants must be college-bound high school seniors who demonstrate high academic achievement and community service experience. The award amount for this scholarship typically ranges between $500-$1,500.

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