Regarding your Jan. 14 news story “UNC OKs major plan to improve”: The UNC Board of Governors showed great leadership in advancing equal educational opportunity by voting Jan. 13 to increase the number of low-income students UNC enrolls by 13 percent and the number of such students it graduates by 32 percent. Other colleges and universities around our nation should now follow UNC’s lead.
The sad truth is that family income – not academic ability – remains the greatest predictor of who goes to college. A White House report in 2014 found that only about 10 percent of people from low-income families have a bachelor’s degree by age 25, but five times as many people from high-income families have such degrees. This is outrageously unfair and a tremendous waste of talent that our nation needs.
The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation has provided scholarships to nearly 2,200 high-achieving students from low-income families in the past 16 years. These students have done outstanding work in school, graduating at comparable rates to more affluent students. Many have gone on to successful careers as doctors, medical researchers, teachers, professors, entrepreneurs and in numerous other fields.
It’s good to know that UNC will enable many more low-income students to follow in their footsteps.
Harold O. Levy
Executive Director, Jack Kent Cooke Foundation