The front page of Sunday’s New York Times featured a story entitled “Better Colleges Fail to Lure Talented Poor: Qualified But Unaware.” The article centered on a new analysis by Caroline Hoxby of Stanford and Christine Avery of Harvard that found that the majority of low-income students who achieve superior grades and test scores don’t even apply to the nation’s 238 most selective colleges and universities. The article posited that this is one factor that contributes to economic inequality due to the significant difference between the average earnings of college graduates and non-college graduates.
The need is even more heightened when it comes to low-income and minority students pursuing careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields. The Bureau of Labor reported that not only will there be more jobs over the next decade in STEM fields than non-STEM areas, but workers in STEM occupations have garnered 26 percent more in earnings than their counterparts in non-STEM fields. This was true even after taking gender, race, union status, location, and industry into account. Despite these figures the United States does not currently produce enough qualified workers to meet the demand for STEM employees. The current STEM pipeline is woefully insufficient. (Huffington Post)