For Poor Students, An Ivy League Full Ride Isn’t Always What They Imagined


, ,

Photo credit:
Photo credit:

To reach the Ivy League after growing up poor seems like hitting the jackpot. Students get a world-class education from schools that promise to meet full financial needs without making them take out loans. But the reality of a full ride isn’t always what they had dreamed it would be.

Here at Columbia University, money pressures lead many to cut corners on textbook purchases and skip city excursions routine for affluent classmates. Some borrow thousands of dollars a year to pay bills. Some feel obliged to send money home occasionally to help their families. Others spend less on university meal plans, slipping extra food into their backpacks when they leave a dining hall and hunting for free grub through a Facebook network called CU Meal Share.

“If you want to have some sort of social life, you have to pay for that, too,” said Lizzette Delgadillo, 20, a junior from Los Angeles. Her father is a trumpet player in a mariachi band, her mother a housekeeper. “New York’s very expensive. I’m happy. But financially, it’s pretty hard.”

Such challenges are widespread in higher education, and at many schools far more severe. But awareness of them has grown in recent years at top colleges seeking to diversify what were once bastions of exclusivity and privilege. The more they recruit from impoverished and working-class neighborhoods….

To read full article: