Responding to lobbying by [Ted] O'Neill [director of admissions at U.Chicago] and others, the College Board is piloting a program this year with about 30 colleges and universities that will enable them to buy students' names and information based on whether they live in lower-income communities.Never fear, though. The College Board is taking precautions to protect our privacy.
"We are swearing to use it for good, not for evil," said Bruch Poch, dean of admissions at Pomona College. "The myth of unaffordability has become a nightmare, and we can't directly speak to kids or their families unless we can really target them."
The schools still will not be able to request a search that would reveal which students have family incomes below or above a certain level. Instead, college admissions officers could request the names of students who live in low-income communities, determined by their high school and nine-digit ZIP code.Naturally, this kind of policy might have side effects as all social engineering does.
Wouldn't a public high school district want to appear as if it were in a poorer area than it otherwise is? Wouldn't parents pressure their property assessors to assess them at a lower rate so that they could be "targeted" by college officials?
What does low-income even really mean? Shouldn't it be low-wealth?
After all, by the definition of low-income anyone who lived in an elderly community would be hurting and anyone who put his money into cars or boats or property years before they were assessed would be left alone. What's more anyone who lives in any area that has high taxes that when all is said and done take 40% or so of your income cannot be said to have a high-income.
Moreover, students that come from areas that are poor and rural might qualify for assistance from the colleges. Similarly, what if they are one of the few low-income people living in an area? It is not entirely uncommon, for instance, for people who own six figure homes to be making under $60,000 or so given how volatile property values can be.
Of course, relying on high school data is unfair because some students may be bussed to a different zip code (thank liberals for busing, by the way.)
I suspect that what the colleges really want to do is excuse their obvious efforts at racial engineering by throwing in a couple of students from the supposedly rough inner-city. It's been quite politically inconvenient that students from the black upper and middle class have gotten the benefits of affirmative action, while those for whom it was intended to help have not gotten any assistance whatsoever.
(In fact, as Thomas Sowell has demonstrated conclusively that because university admittance is a zero-sum game, affirmative action has benefited upper and middle class blacks at the expense of poor whites and Asians who tend to be more qualified than most of those upper-class blacks and yet are rejected.)
For them, low-income means black and Hispanic and we would be kidding ourselves if it meant anything else.
Throughout the Tribune piece, you get the sense that the colleges are bemoaning the fact that so few students are paying for college with federal grants. These students either have wealthy parents or don't currently qualify for federally-subsidized loans because Mom and Dad make too much money.
Now why would they be upset about that?
Allow me to venture an educated guess.
You see, if colleges are successful at getting the federal taxpayers to bear their costs, they can raise their tuition and push still more students onto federally subsidized loans as more and more parents demand that college be "affordable." Politicians will be happy to make college "affordable," but that will be at the expense of all the rest of society, most of which does not have a college degree. As federal subsidies rise, so too do the taxes.
If people really want to make college affordable, they could ask for an education, instead of say, a super expensive multi-million dollar student center, equipped with pool tables and restaurants.
What's that? Pomona already has one of those? Gee, look at how that's turned out!