Low-Income Ivy Sweepstakes

ACORN Financial Justice Ideas and Issues

Washington     Here’s another news flash. Seems some of your super-expensive ivy league and ivy league wannabe schools have realized that it is just too damned expensive for low (and moderate?) income students and their parents to have a shot at breaking the iron cage of social stratification in our country. Somehow a four year tour of duty at better than $125,000 or for the Harvard’s something more in the $200,000 range for the ride has reduced the number of lower income applications. Some of the schools have used this new found realization to end “early applications” believing that disadvantaged the poorest students. Others are now claiming to huge press notices that they are beating the bushes (wait — bad metaphor, I think the Bushes have no trouble getting a legacy into Yale, so I mean hitting the grassroots, I guess) to increase the number of low income applications.

Luckily, here at ACORN we have a great plan for you! And, we will keep the charge minimal….

Dear Fancy Admissions Department,

ACORN will be running 100,000 families through our ACORN Centers this spring where we will be providing tax and benefit access. Doing the taxes for low and moderate income families, we will know easily whether or not they are below 200% of poverty level, which would be $40,000 for a family of four, as you know. ACORN had not put this specific screen in our software, but because we know you are working so hard to find lower income applicants, we are going to put a chart in front of all of our computers, so we can see what families make that income band and have a junior or senior in high school. We will ask if the child’s grades are over a B average. If the income fits and the grades are in the top range, we are going to refer these students directly to you!

Here is the hard part for you. We want you pay for the referral, so we do not have to subsidize your billion-gazillion dollar endowment, because we could not explain us subsidizing you! That is actually the easy part. The harder part is that we want you to be fair to each one of the applicants we send you. We want you to give them a hard look and a fair shake. Worst, we want to hear back from you. Yes, you! We want to hear exactly what happens to each of these young citizens and their dreams for the future in your elite institutions.

Sincerely, ACORN

I’m serious though.