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Purdue Joins Group That'll Share Data On Bettering Low-Income Student Performance

Wes Jackson

In a few years, student bodies at some major public universities could include more low-income and first-generation collegians.

That’s the goal of the University Innovation Alliance, a group of 11 schools joining forces Tuesday. The Alliance’s goal is to help those students – whom numbers suggest don’t succeed as often as their peers from well-to-do backgrounds – graduate at a higher rate.

Purdue President Mitch Daniels, whose school is part of the group, says there’s data hiding in all the schools’ computers that can be better leveraged if it’s combined, rather than used as a way to out-recruit competing schools.

(EDITOR'S NOTE: President Daniels mentioned partnering with "Georgia Tech." It's actually Georgia State University that's part of the Alliance.)

“There’s a competition for students and it’s getting tougher all the time," Daniels says. "But if it leads to people hiding their light under the bushel when it comes to practices and programs that work for low-income students, then it’s detrimental to the broader goals that we have.”

Daniels says low-income and first generation students don’t even apply to college at the same rate, for fear they’ll be turned down or be unable to afford the sticker price.

He says schools need to do a better job communicating about financial aid, so those students give themselves at least the chance to be admitted.

Daniels says Purdue should have a conversation about whether to expand its student body, thus opening up more spots for the students the Alliance is trying to help.

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