Simmons didn't stay around to see the implementation of SAT-optional polices which, coupled with new recruitment efforts, resulted in the early 2000s of Smith having the largest percentage of Pell grant recipients of any prestige private liberal arts college in the country. It required a very large financial commitment on the part of the college. So the SAT-optional policy has to be seen in this larger context.
Smith has the highest percentage of Pell Grant recipients of any high-ranking liberal arts college in the country. For the record, Smith College has had no problem finding, recruiting, accepting, and graduating academically talented Pell Grant students. But they are committed to spending a lot of MONEY to do it
What income level do you define as "rich", i.e. the folk you believe should not be eligible for any type of discount no matter how brilliant they are.
But a lot of schools that give out institutional awards, even in terms of financial aid, have enrollment management and policies in place so that they get the most bang out of the buck. Giving 10 kids full need because their need averages out to $5K a piece which is hardly need, is a lot better use of $50K than spending it all on a kid with a $50K+ need, and not even meeting 100% of that family's need. You get the $50K plus from each of those 10 kids who sigh on to come to the school, so the school still get 90% of the sticker price met from each of the comers, plus it looks good on the common data stats that they fulfilled 100% of the need of those kids. So just because a school is giving out more financial aid than merit does not mean that it is going to the neediest. The terms "poor" and "rich" are relative. Two families can both qualify for need but the one with the zero EFC is often in a whole other financial class than the one with a $55K EFC. Both would qualify for need at a $60K COA school.
And, yes, PELL is the only reliable way of telling how many truly "poor" kids go to college.
I agree with Mini. I see no long term, widespread benefit to society to continue to put pell and sub loan money into the privates. Let them figure out how to subsidize their poorer students.
Take the money and put it into the publics. Make all publics the same cost as pell for those who are pell eligible.
Let's use some common sense for a change.