I applaud Princeton’s dedication to increasing the enrollment of low-income and first-generation college students (President’s Page, March 21). I am writing to draw attention to a different perspective of the issue. I teach at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, a public historically black university (HBCU). Low-income and first-generation students probably make up the majority of our student body.
When the top-end higher-education institutions expand their pipeline of recruitment, we lose our best students, and the future students on our campus lose the examples that they can look up to. Ideally, we will put in the same efforts to expand the pipeline of our recruitment to make more students ready for college education.
Unfortunately, we do not have the same level of resources that Princeton enjoys. It is difficult for us to create the comprehensive programs that mirror what Princeton put in place, and it can be argued that the programs needed for our goal may require a larger-scale effort. By no means am I trying to suggest Princeton do anything differently in increasing the diversity of the student body. The point here is to draw some attention to the systemic problem that cannot be solved by aggressive recruitment without fundamental improvement of the K-12 pipeline.
I do not pretend to know what is needed, but I suspect that we need to create an environment for something more dramatic to happen to the education system.