Wooster’s commitment to economic diversity praised by The New York Times

A yellow flower blooms in the foreground of an image of The College of Wooster sign.

In the wake of the recent United States Supreme Court decision that ended race-based affirmative action, The College of Wooster was praised for the second time by The New York Times, this time for its economic diversity with students coming from a broad range of economic backgrounds.

The Times article mentions that many large public universities and other elite private schools that previously used race-based admissions were still drawing a largely affluent student body with some schools having more undergraduate students from the top 1 percent of income distribution than from the bottom 60 percent.

“It is difficult because nearly every aspect of the admissions system favors affluent applicants,” David Leonhardt, the author of the Times piece writes. “They attend better high schools. They receive help on their essays from their highly educated parents. They know how to work the system by choosing character-building extracurricular activities and taking standardized tests multiple times. In many cases – if the applicants are athletes or the children of alumni, donors, or faculty members – they benefit from their own version of affirmative action.”

Wooster is listed among those schools who, despite having fewer resources than those with multibillion dollar endowments, are able to help students financially by increasing scholarship budgets for students with lower income backgrounds.

“Crucially, these campuses have not sacrificed one form of diversity for another: They also tend to be racially diverse,” Leonhardt writes. “Admissions officers at such colleges have recognized that talented students from humble backgrounds usually don’t look as polished. Many of these students have tremendous promise. By admitting them, an elite college can change the trajectories of entire families. A college dominated by affluent students, by contrast, is failing to serve as the engine of opportunity that it could be.”

Wooster’s student body is made up of 15-17 percent international students, hailing from 77 countries. Nearly a quarter of the College’s population are U.S. students of color.

The piece in The New York Times comes on the heels of another in which Wooster is called out for its price transparency, which allows prospective students to see what their costs of attending would be before going through the time-consuming application process.

Posted in Financial Aid, News on July 5, 2023.