A study posted by the New York Times on “how well or how poorly colleges have built an economically diverse student body” revealed that NYU ranked fourth among other elite colleges enrolling the highest percentage of low- and middle- income students.
The statistic that 14.3 percent of the students that NYU accepted in 2016 came from the bottom 40 percent of the income distribution evidences that the university is actively working toward achieving economic diversification. The same study ranked NYU eighth on the economic mobility index out of 64 other elite colleges. The index measures the access and outcomes of students, as well as the ability of students to move up two or more income quintiles.
NYU Spokesperson Matt Nagel said the university takes great pride in its economically diverse student body and continues to make progress on accessibility through NYU’s affordability initiative.
“In the case of this study, which was reported in the NY Times Upshot blog, the underlying data suggests that compared to a number of peer institutions, NYU is doing well in helping students from lower income backgrounds to earn higher incomes,” Nagel said. “The underlying data also suggest that the reason NYU is doing well is because it admits a greater share of students from low-income backgrounds than many of its peers.”
Nagel said that it is gratifying to see NYU recognized among the top schools for the highest percentage of low- and middle- income students after increasing its accessibility to students of all economic backgrounds.
“The promise and the premise of an education at NYU is to prepare talented students, whatever their financial status, for a world of meaningful work and personal fulfillment,” Nagel said. “This report shows that our efforts are paying off but we will not let up on broadening the pathways for deserving and needy students.”
Gallatin sophomore Mairead McConnell said that she feels Affirmative Action definitely plays a role in the increase in diversity at universities such as NYU. McConnell said that although Affirmative Action has its benefits, the policy can sometimes disadvantage students in higher socioeconomic classes who have better grades than other candidates with more financial challenges.
“There are definitely times in which it gives an unfair advantage to people,” McConnell said. “I know some kids who are incredibly smart but for the most part it seems like if you are a minority and have lower grades you will still get in.”
Sunya Reddy is a senior at Cambridge High School in Milton, GA who applied regular decision to NYU. Reddy said that she didn’t consider NYU as an economically appealing option as they only offer a limited number of merit scholarships.
“They only do financial aid, which I guess would help increase their more diverse economic background of students,” Reddy said. “I know it wasn’t very economically feasible for me to go to NYU, like spending that amount of money, especially without additional economic support.”
Reddy thinks that Affirmative Action has many positive benefits although it doesn’t directly help her.
“I don’t particularly think that it will help me, but I also totally agree with Affirmative Action and I completely see the necessity for it in today’s situation and in our current economic environment,” Reddy said.
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Jan. 23 print edition.
Additional reporting by Natasha Roy. Email Jemima McEvoy at [email protected]