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The official blog of @SCHEVResearch at the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. Discussions about our work, national higher education data policy, and highlights about the data we publish.

 

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Pell Awards by Locality

by Tod Massa 24. March 2017 21:38

You may have noticed last weekend that some new reports were listed on the website and in the Weekend Update focused on Pell grant recipients by locality. These were a bit challenging to produce because privacy laws, particularly FERPA, prevent us reporting that 100% of students from a given locality receive Pell. So, we contacted the Privacy Technical Assistance Center for their guidelines and implemented those.  Basically, if the restrictions exist at the tails of the distribution, based on the denominator.  For localities with one to five students, no data; six to fifteen, <50% or >50%; 16 to 30, <=20% or >=80%, and so on. The details are in the “Notes” tab.

 

If one looks for the wealthiest localities in Virginia, you tend to come up with lists that look  lot like this one from Wikipedia based on 2010 Census and five years of American Community Survey data:

Rank

County or City

Per capita
income

Median
household
income

Median
family
income

Population

Number of
households

1

Arlington County

$57,724

$94,880

$126,947

207,627

98,050

2

Falls Church

$55,389

$114,409

$142,035

12,332

5,101

3

Alexandria

$54,345

$80,847

$102,017

139,966

68,082

4

Fairfax County

$49,001

$105,416

$124,316

1,081,726

391,627

5

Loudoun County

$45,356

$115,574

$130,432

312,311

104,583

 

Surely these localities are somewhat wealthier now.  Despite that and the status of being the wealthiest localities in Virginia, 25% of 5,348 undergraduates from Arlington receive Pell grants; 24% of 1,509 students from Falls Church receive Pell; 33% of 5,953 students from Alexandria receive Pell; 23% of 45,406 students from Fairfax County receive Pell; and, 15% of 18,011 undergraduate students from Loudoun County receive Pell.

I suspect the distributions by institution might be enlightening, but I will leave that exercise to those who are specifically interested.

 The real point is this. Variance happens. Any city or county in Virginia has students and families across the spectrum of wealth. I’ve met with institutional leaders in the past who were planning to make a big play for NoVa students assuming they were all wealthy enough to not need financial aid and eager enough to attend their institutions. Clearly this is not the case. There are needy students everywhere.

 

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