UC System Demonstrates Exceptional Support for Low-Income Students

Photo courtesy of The Triton.

A recent report by Third Way, a center-left think tank, details that UC system schools, as opposed to most U.S. universities, excel at providing aid and support toward low-income students. The report focuses on the average enrollment and graduation rates of Pell Grant awardees.

Among the top 100 U.S. universities, five out of the nine UC campuses included had the highest graduation and retention rates for Pell Grant awardees at public and private non-profit universities.

Out of the top 10 public and private schools on the list, UC San Diego was ranked fourth, with an 85 percent graduation rate for Pell Grant awardees. UCLA, UC Irvine, UC Davis, and UC Santa Barbara were also included within the top 10 rankings.

In a list of public universities only, seven of the UC campuses placed in the top 10.

The UC system receives relatively high amounts of state funding, and with programs like the Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan, it allows low-income students to receive the necessary financial aid to attend a UC school.

According to the UC Admissions website,The Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan is a financial aid program intended to expand access to UC [schools] for lower-income students.” The plan allows California residents with family incomes below $80,000 to be exempt from tuition and fees at any of the nine main UC campuses. The implementation of such programs have allowed for an increase in graduation and retention rates across every UC campus.

The UC system also aspires to target future students through early outreach programs, such as the Early Academic Outreach Program, designed to prepare disadvantaged K–12 California students for higher education. These early outreach programs strive to make the college application process less daunting by familiarizing the students with the UC system.

From these factors, Third Way states that it is “clear that [UC] institutions are committed to admitting an above-average share of Pell students and equally committed to helping them succeed.”

Orianna Borrelli is a contributing writer for The Triton. You can follow her on Twitter at @orianna_b.

Correction: This article was updated on May 29, 2018 at 9:15p.m. A previous version of this article incorrectly stated Third Way is a think tank solely focused on Pell Grants.