Price responds to New York Times article describing Duke as among ‘least economically diverse’ elite colleges

President Vincent Price responded to a Thursday article in the New York Times Magazine which described Duke as falling substantially behind peer universities in socioeconomic diversity, saying the article portrayed the University “in a rather harsh light.”

“We care deeply about socioeconomic diversity at Duke, and we know we have more work to do in this area. But that work is well under way and has already yielded significant positive results,” Price’s Friday response read. 

The article states that Duke is one of the “least economically diverse” colleges and an “exception to the exception” among elite higher education institutions. It states that in the past, Duke was at par in terms of economic diversity with its peers, but now, it fares much worse. 

According to the article, among the eight Ivy League colleges, along with Stanford, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Chicago and Duke, it’s Duke that gives “some of the largest advantages in the admission process to students from families making at least $250,000 a year,” citing merit-based scholarships such as the Angier B. Duke Memorial Scholarship.

The NYT Magazine article referenced a July research study published by Opportunity Insights, a nonprofit organization run by Harvard economist Raj Chetty, which read that about 12% of Duke students in “recent years” were Pell Grant eligible. 

Price wrote that the number of students who are Pell Grant-eligible at Duke has grown “quite significantly this year, to approximately 17% of our entering class.” 

The University’s statement also pointed to several resources for low-income students, including its newly implemented financial aid program, which provides full-tuition grants for undergraduate students from the Carolinas with family incomes below $150,000. The program, which impacts more than 300 students in fall of 2023, also provides additional aid for students with family incomes below $65,000. 

It referenced “progress in aligning our campus culture and support systems” to support low-income students, such as the Duke LIFE program and additional support for technology access, health and dental insurance and medical and housing assistance. 

Price added that Duke is “among the few universities” to offer nine semesters of financial aid for eligible students and that Duke is “creating an inclusive and welcoming living and learning experience” through QuadEx.

Adway S. Wadekar profile
Adway S. Wadekar | News Editor

Adway S. Wadekar is a Trinity junior and former news editor of The Chronicle's 119th volume.

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Audrey Wang | Editor-in-Chief

Audrey Wang is a Trinity junior and editor-in-chief of The Chronicle's 119th volume.


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