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The Privileged Poor: How Elite Colleges Are Failing Poor Students

Anthony Abraham Jack, an african-american man with a full beard and glasses, smiles, standing with crossed arms in front of a blackboard.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021
6:00 – 7:30 pm


Virtual Event


Lecture / Discussion
Open to the public
Free of charge

RSVP Required

Getting into college for disadvantaged students is only half the battle. Dr. Anthony Abraham Jack discusses students he’s named the Privileged Poor: lower income students at elite college campuses. He reveals how and why they struggle and explains what schools can do differently if these students are to thrive. He urges us to grapple with a simple fact: access ain’t inclusion.

Anthony Abraham Jack is currently a Junior Fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows, an Assistant Professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and the Shutzer Assistant Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. His research documents overlooked diversity among lower-income undergraduates: the doubly disadvantaged – those who enter college from local, typically distressed public high schools – and the privileged poor – those who do so from boarding, day, and preparatory high schools.

His scholarship appears in The Common Reader, Du Bois Review, Sociological Forum, and Sociology of Education, and has earned awards from the Association of American Publishers, American Sociological Association, American Educational Studies Association, Association for the Study of Higher Education, Eastern Sociological Society, and the Society for the Study of Social Problems. Tony 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. In 2020, Muhlenberg College awarded him an honorary degree for his work in transforming higher education.

The New York Times, Boston Globe, The Atlantic, The New Yorker, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Nation, American Conservative Magazine, The National Review, The Washington Post, CNN, Vice, Vox, 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 awarded the 2020 Mirra Komarovsky Book Award, 2019 CEP Mildred Garcia Award (Junior) for Exemplary Scholarship, and the Thomas J. Wilson Memorial Prize and also named a NPR Book’s best Book of 2019.


Stamps events are free and open to the pub­lic, and we are com­mit­ted to mak­ing them acces­si­ble to all atten­dees. This event will be online using the Zoom plat­form with an auto-gen­er­ated Live Tran­script avail­able. If you antic­i­pate need­ing any addi­tional accom­mo­da­tions, please email bbscott@​umich.​edu at least one week in advance of the sched­uled event so we can arrange for your accom­mo­da­tion or an effec­tive alternative.

This event is presented by the College of Engineering, Taubman College, and the Stamps School of Art & Design.