Elsewhere online
April 08, 2015

New $1 Million Prize Rewards Colleges for Economic Diversity

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation has established a $1 million annual prize to recognize institutions of higher learning for success in enrolling and graduating low-income, high-achieving students, writes The New York Times. The inaugural Cooke Prize for Equity in Educational Excellence was awarded Tuesday to Vassar College in upstate New York, where a quarter of students have family incomes low enough to qualify for federal Pell grants.

The Northern Virginia-based foundation also runs a large scholarship program. The unrestricted prize money is part of a larger movement coalescing around the issue of socioeconomic diversity at elite, selective colleges that provide stepping stones to social mobility. Such institutions have worked to build student bodies that are geographically, religiously, and ethnically diverse but still largely affluent, David Leonhardt writes in the Times's Upshot column.