The 2021 Walter N. Ridley Lecture


Mar 18, 2021 10:00 AM to 11:15 AM

The Privileged Poor: How Elite Colleges Are Failing Disadvantaged Students featuring Anthony A. Jack, Assistant Professor of Education, Harvard University

What does it mean to be a poor student on a rich campus? This question is all the more important as colleges and universities continue to take affirmative steps to socioeconomically diversify their campuses. In this talk, Anthony Jack examines how class and culture shape how undergraduates navigate college by exploring the “experiential core of college life,” those too often overlooked moments between getting in and graduating. Here, he sheds new light on how inequality is reproduced by contrasting the experiences of the Privileged Poor—lower-income students who graduate from boarding, day, and preparatory high schools—and the Doubly Disadvantaged—lower-income undergraduates who graduate from public, typically distressed high schools. Drawing on interviews with 103 undergraduates and two years of observing everyday life at an elite university, Jack interrogates the social and personal costs of exclusion that have implications for undergraduates’ objective opportunities and their social well-being.

Anthony Abraham Jack (Ph.D., Harvard University) 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.