The Impact of Wealth and Privilege in Education

By Emma Kidger

As education becomes more competitive, the advantages of wealth and privilege are brought to the surface. The money and privilege one’s family or themselves obtains, can strictly determine the amount of opportunities you have, whether trying to get into college or just advance in one’s education. 

The necessity of going to the top schools, in general, are to have better opportunities for student’s future endeavors in college and their career. Let us not forget the reason why going to high ranked schools are necessary: the future. Systematic exclusion based on wealth and privilege impose on a student’s future education, career,  and life in general, further stressing how big of an impact your education depends on you or your family’s wealth and privilege. Usually, the highest-ranked schools have high funding from parents and the government. With more money from students and the school community, the more resources the school itself offers for students. The Daily Aztec describes this necessity as “Schools with better funding are able to offer more AP courses which look good on students’ transcripts and can boost their GPA.” Outstanding schools with high funds give more and also have stronger extracurriculars, another important step for students’ college applications. 

According to the Urban Institute, “An average person from a high-wealth family is 29 percentage points more likely to complete at least two years of college than an average person from a low-wealth family.” Many students from low-wealth families don’t have the money to do what’s necessary to get into 4 year colleges, like tutoring or college consultants, let alone be able to pay for college itself. If students do happen to rank in the middle or high wealth families, they have the ability to obtain more resources like tutors, private schools, and multiple extracurriculars to boost their college application. 

In addition, many students with high socioeconomic standings are mentally prepared to apply, get into and make a wise decision on which one of the big name universities they’re going to attend because of their families wealth and opportunities. If one knows they can only pay so much for school, you’re not going to be picky, you’re going to go with the school that fits your current income. On the other hand many who have low-income families do not expect to go to college, limiting their mindset on the opportunities of financial aid, trade schools or community colleges. These same students end up giving up on their opportunities. 

All in all, privilege of wealth has a much bigger toll on a student’s education. The systematic embedment of wealth and privilege within school systems will always be an obstacle many students will have to face and overcome.