Across the United States, 2021 high school graduates are celebrating their accomplishments that have required many long nights and laborious study sessions. To many recent graduates, the certified high school diploma and subsequent college admission represent a chance to build a better life and to establish a fulfilling career.
Given the changing education and economic landscape due to the COVID-19 pandemic, an ever-increasing number of low-income students are applying to institutions of higher education. According to The Wall Street Journal, Harvard received over 57,000 freshman applications for fall 2021, representing a 42% increase in applications compared to the previous year. Similarly, other universities, such as USC, NYU, Yale, Stanford, and Columbia, have witnessed a significant spike in applications. Although such spikes in applications may be good news for universities, leading to increased revenues, an unintended consequence of a soaring number of applications is that low-income, predominantly BIPOC students are being left behind.