Report shows stark economic disparities among Colorado's college students

Yesenia Robles --- The Denver Post 

High school graduates from well-off families are nearly 12 times more likely to go to a top college than students from low-income households, according to a report released Tuesday by a group of local nonprofits.

"We must recognize that different colleges provide different experiences for students, and, if we as a society value equal opportunity as we say we do, it's critical that Colorado's low-income students have the same access to elite colleges as their wealthier peers," said Van Schoales, CEO of A+ Denver in a released statement.

The report, titled "Missing the Bus," looked at Colorado high-school graduates from 2010 through 2012 and tracked what college they enrolled in. The report classified top-tier schools using existing ranking systems, including one by the US News and World Report.

The list includes 169 U.S. colleges, and Colorado schools were the Colorado School of Mines, University of Colorado Boulder, University of Denver and Colorado College.

Among the findings, the report also noted that low-income students in wealthier schools are more likely to go to a top-tier college than low-income students in a poor school or district. In Colorado, 42 percent of students qualify as low-income.

Of all of Colorado's high schools, the International Baccalaureate program at George Washington High School sent the highest percentage of their low-income students to top-tier schools.

The advanced program had 39 graduates who qualify for free or reduced lunch — a measure of poverty — of which 17 went to a top-tier school, or 43.6 percent.

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