Contrary to a commonly-held belief that low-income students are more likely to struggle in a four-year institution, new data indicates students from low-income households are, in fact, likely to thrive in four-year institutions, according to a new survey.

Higher education institutions are relying on predictive analysis to make decisions about admission and resource allocation, but that process could perpetuate the under-representation of minority and low-income students, according to a survey released by vibeffect at EDUCAUSE.

The comprehensive survey includes data from students in 5,000 households, spans 1,000 institutions and covers 260 variables. Four comparison groups are used for analysis:

  • Low-income high-thrivers (LI-HT) with household income below $35,000
  • High-income high-thrivers (HI-HT) with household income of $150,000 or higher
  • Low-income- all other (LI-AO)
  • All other high-thrivers (AO-HT)

It reveals that students from low-income households ($35,000 household income and below) have an equal probability of earning a “high-thriving” designation on all dimensions of thriving, and often are equally represented in the highest-thriving group.

(Next page: What the results reveal about supporting low-income students)


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