Skip to Main Content

MIT Libraries logo MIT Libraries

Massaschusetts Institute of Technology logo Search Account

MIT Reads: The Privileged Poor: Further Reading

Learn more


Pandemic Related:

More Pandemic Consequences for Underrepresented Students by Greta Anderson, Inside Higher Ed, 9/16/2020

How another elite university does it:

Georgetown University has a program called “Mastering the Hidden Curriculum” which helps low-income/first generation students navigate the hidden complexities of higher education and find resources/tools they might not have otherwise known about.

The MIT Reads team is grateful to Shannon Hunt, member of ARM and MIT Libraries, who provided all of the information above and curated the list of articles below.

Recommended articles

“Always in My Face”: An Exploration of Social Class, Consciousness, Salience, and Values by Georgianna L. Martin, Journal of College Student Development, volume 56, issue 5 (2015)   

  • This is a qualitative study about how low-income/first generation students experience and navigate social class in college.

Social and Cultural Capital, Race and Ethnicity, and College Student Retention by Ryan Wells, Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory & Practice, volume 10, issue 2 (2009)   

  • This is a quantitative study about how student persistence through graduation is impacted by race, ethnicity, and social class (and here social class is explored as social and cultural capital).

Are College Faculty and First-Generation Low-Income Students Ready for Each Other? by Alfred R. Schademan and Maris R. Thompson, Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory & Practice, volume 18, issue 2 (2016) 

  • This is an exploration of faculty understanding of first-generation/low-income student preparedness.

The Poor Kids Table: Organizing Around an Invisible and Stigmatized Identity in Flux by Deborah M. Warnock and Allison L. Hurst, Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, volume 9, issue 3 (2016)

  • This article does a great job of explaining the conflict inherent in ‘identifying’ as poor while in higher education settings: not only is being poor is negatively stigmatized (even the word 'poor' is loaded), higher ed is also positioned as a place to move upward in social class. This is why the typical method to support marginalized students (affinity groups) might not be effective for low-income students.

Beyond a Test Score: Explaining Opportunity Gaps in Education Practice by H. Richard Milner IV, Journal of Black Studies, volume 43, issue 6 (2012)   

  • This article gets into how schools often frame gaps in knowledge for marginalized students as achievement gaps rather than "opportunity gaps." Focusing on "opportunity gaps" allows educators and researchers to examine the systems that marginalize low-income students rather than vesting blame in individual students who are forced to operate in these inequitable systems.

‘Low Income doesn’t mean stupid and destined for failure’: challenging the deficit discourse around students from low SES backgrounds in higher education by Jade McKay & Marcia Devlin, International Journal of Inclusive Education, volume 20, issue 4 (2016)

  • Which brings us to this article that goes into all the awesome things low-income students bring to higher education settings and why approaching any marginalized student with a 'deficit lens' is just bad practice.