Colleges To Be Ranked Based on Income Diversity

As a follow up to the previous post about the lack of income diversity at elite colleges, it is worth noting that the New York Times is apparently getting into the college-rankings business, planning to unveil what it is calling “a new ranking of colleges and universities based on their ability to attract underprivileged kids.”

“Having The New York Times shine light on the fact that an institution has very little economic diversity could have a powerful shaming effect” and be “an important counterweight,” said Richard D. Kahlenberg, a senior fellow at the Century Foundation and a proponent of class-based affirmative action. “Right now,” he added, “it’s easier to hide.”

The Chronicle of Higher Education article linked here provides more information about the NYT goals, as well as offering some useful comparison to the U.S. News and World Reports and the Washington Monthly rankings that have drawn criticism for the metrics they use to determine rankings.

Author: Andrea Kaston Tange

Andrea Kaston Tange is professor of Victorian literature and culture at Eastern Michigan University, Past President and Treasurer of the Midwest Modern Language Association, and editor of the *Journal of Narrative Theory*.

One thought on “Colleges To Be Ranked Based on Income Diversity”

  1. I see the value in this, if used to improve diversity, but I am concerned that it could also have unintended consequences. I am concerned that some prospective students, or parents, may use it to choose less diverse schools. Students from non-diverse backgrounds (and there are many) may shy away from high-diversity schools, fearing that they themselves may become the minority. What would happen if we started rating communities on their diversity? I suspect that this would lead to less diversity, not more. Perhaps it’s better if we don’t quantify diversity. And where does it end? Do we then start breaking down that diversity even further? Do we rate which schools have high Asian-American populations, and which have high African-American ones? Such metrics have been used for ill means in the past. I see both the value and the danger in this, but I’m not sure which is greater.

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