Economic Diversity

Regional Universities (South)

Economic diversity has received growing attention in higher education, particularly at elite schools that haven't traditionally enrolled large numbers of low-income students or students from low-income families. This table shows the percentage of undergraduates receiving federal Pell Grants for low-income students.

The proportion of students on Pell Grants, which are most often given to undergrads with family incomes under $20,000, isn't a perfect measure of an institution's efforts to achieve economic diversity: A college might enroll a large number of students just above the Pell cutoff, for instance, and percentages at public universities may reflect the wide variation from state to state in the number of qualified low-income students.

Still, many experts say that Pell figures are the best available gauge of how many low-income undergrads there are on a given campus. Pell Grant percentages were calculated using 2011-2012 school year data on the number of Pell Grant recipients at each school collected by the U.S. Department of Education and given to U.S. News and fall 2011 total undergraduate enrollment collected from the colleges themselves by U.S. News.

These rankings are split into 4 regions: North, South, Midwest and West.

School Percent of undergraduates receiving Pell Grants:
Mercer University

Macon, GA

49%
Southern Polytechnic State University

Marietta, GA

48%
Western Kentucky University

Bowling Green, KY

46%
Northwestern State University of Louisiana

Natchitoches, LA

46%
Kennesaw State University

Kennesaw, GA

46%
University of the Cumberlands

Williamsburg, KY

46%
Marshall University

Huntington, WV

45%
University of Montevallo

Montevallo, AL

44%
Campbellsville University

Campbellsville, KY

44%
Mississippi College

Clinton, MS

43%
McNeese State University

Lake Charles, LA

43%
Cumberland University

Lebanon, TN

43%
University of Louisiana—​Monroe

Monroe, LA

43%
Nicholls State University

Thibodaux, LA

42%
Winthrop University

Rock Hill, SC

42%
University of Central Arkansas

Conway, AR

42%
Morehead State University

Morehead, KY

42%
University of North Alabama

Florence, AL

41%
Tennessee Technological University

Cookeville, TN

41%
Western Carolina University

Cullowhee, NC

41%
Coastal Carolina University

Conway, SC

41%
Palm Beach Atlantic University

West Palm Beach, FL

41%
Jacksonville University

Jacksonville, FL

41%
University of North Florida

Jacksonville, FL

41%
Stetson University

DeLand, FL

40%

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