SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The New York Times has ranked Wofford College among the “Top Colleges Doing the Most for Low-Income Students,” at #70, making it the top ranked South Carolina institution on the listing of 179 colleges and universities.
To measure top colleges’ efforts on economic diversity, the newspaper’s David Leonhardt, in his The Upshot blog, created the College Access Index based on the share of students who receive Pell grants (which typically go to families making less than $70,000 annually), the graduation rate of those students and the price that colleges charge for low- and middle-income students.
This is the second year the New York Times has put Wofford on its “most economically diverse” listing. Last year, Wofford also was the top South Carolina institution on the list. The 2014 listing was based on four-year graduation rates; this year’s colleges with a five-year graduation rate of 75 percent or higher are included, adding more colleges to this year’s rankings.
Wofford is one of only three South Carolina institutions on the list. The other two are Clemson University (71) and Furman University (161).
“Colleges obviously can’t solve all of the economy’s problems,” Leonhardt writes, “but there is a reason that nearly all families that can comfortably send their children to college do so. For families that aren’t as comfortable, some colleges are doing much more to help than others.” Wofford President Nayef H. Samhat notes: “Wofford continues to be among the most prestigious colleges and universities in the country on the key issues that most concern families when it comes to higher education – access, diversity, quality and completion. Wofford’s extraordinary and transformational educational experience is accessible, socio-economically diverse, and we graduate superior students on time.”
Carolyn B. Sparks, director of financial aid at Wofford, says, “Wofford works to attract Pell-eligible students by offering institutional need-based and merit aid as well as other federal and state funds, which can make a student’s aid package more affordable and attractive. Our financial aid plan encompasses other areas of diversity as well, such as geographic, ethnic or racial, and international.”
For the full listing, go to: