There are more students at elite US colleges from the top 1% than the bottom 50%

Elite US universities tend to recruit from the top of the income distribution.

A study recently released by the Equality of Opportunity Project investigates the role of college in intergenerational class mobility. Among other topics, the research team, led by Stanford University economist Raj Chetty, used income tax and college enrollment data to look at the distribution of students by parental income at what they call “Ivy Plus” schools: The eight universities of the Ivy League, along with the University of Chicago, Stanford, MIT, and Duke.

The researchers found a stunning result: At these twelve colleges, 14.5% of students came from families in the top 1% of the income distribution, while just 13.5% came from the bottom 50%.

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