"The Privileged Poor: How Elite Colleges are Failing Poor Students" with Anthony Jack '07

March 21, 2019 - 8:00 pm to 9:15 pm (already occurred)
Science Center, Lipton Lecture Hall

Join us for a talk, followed by a Q&A, with Anthony Jack '07 on his recently released book The Privileged Poor: How Elite Colleges Are Failing Poor Students. A book signing and reception will follow.

Getting into college is only half the battle. The Privileged Poor reveals how—and why—disadvantaged students struggle at elite colleges, and explains what schools can do differently if these students are to thrive.

Despite their lofty aspirations, top colleges hedge their bets by recruiting their new diversity largely from the same old sources, admitting scores of lower-income black, Latino and white undergraduates from elite private high schools like Exeter and Andover. These students approach campus life very differently from students who attended local, and typically troubled, public high schools and are often left to flounder on their own. Drawing on interviews with dozens of undergraduates at one of America’s most famous colleges and on his own experiences as one of the privileged poor, Jack describes the lives poor students bring with them and shows how powerfully background affects their chances of success.

If top colleges want to be engines of opportunity, university policies and campus cultures will have to change. Jack provides concrete advice to help schools reduce these hidden disadvantages.

Anthony Abraham Jack '07 (Ph.D., Harvard University, 2016) is a junior fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows and assistant professor of education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He holds the Shutzer Assistant Professorship at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.

His research documents the overlooked diversity among lower-income undergraduates: the Doubly Disadvantaged—those who enter college from local, typically distressed public high schools—and Privileged Poor—those who do so from boarding, day and preparatory high schools. His scholarship appears in the Du Bois Review, Sociological Forum and Sociology of Education and has earned awards from the American Sociological Association, Eastern Sociological Society and Society for the Study of Social Problems. Jack has held fellowships from the Ford Foundation and the National Science Foundation and was a 2015 National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation Dissertation Fellow. The National Center for Institutional Diversity at the University of Michigan named him a 2016 Emerging Diversity Scholar.

The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Atlantic, The Huffington Post, The National Review, The Washington Post, The Hechinger Report, American RadioWorks and NPR have featured his research and writing as well as biographical profiles of his experiences as a first-generation college student. His first book, The Privileged Poor: How Elite Colleges Are Failing Poor Students, was released in February 2019 with Harvard University Press.

Contact Info

Davis Bannister
(413) 542-5728
image of e-mail address@amherst.edu