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Rich Student, Poor Student

Harvard University has a $25 billion endowment and in
2003-4, only 6 percent of its undergraduates were of
sufficiently modest means to qualify for Pell Grants.
While Pell eligibility varies based on a number of
factors, only 5 percent of Harvard undergraduates that
year came from families with incomes less than $30,000.
At Trinity University, in Washington, there’s a lot
less money in the bank — but a much larger share of
students are getting Pell Grants. The endowment is
about $9 million. In 2003-4, fully half
of Trinity’s students were poor enough for Pell
Grants, and 26 percent came from families with incomes
less than $30,000.
If the comparison makes anyone in Cambridge squeamish (or just has someone objecting to the comparison’s fairness), that’s precisely the point of a new Web site, Economic Diversity of Colleges, which is being unveiled today. The Web site features data from about 3,000 colleges — taken from reports that the institutions file with federal agencies. Tools on the Web site allow users to browse institutions or to set up groups — by geography or institution type, for example — for comparison purposes.

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