In an article focusing on low-income students and their enrollment at the nation's top schools, The New York Times reported that "Efforts to Recruit Poor Students Lag at Some Elite Colleges." In contrast, Barnard College was ranked 5th among elite colleges with the highest enrollment of low-income students. During the 2010-11 academic year, 21% of Barnard students received Pell Grants, "the main form of federal aid for low- and moderate-income students."
In presenting the argument, the piece unveiled data collected by the U.S. Department of Education which found "wide disparities among the most competitive private colleges." An excerpt from the article:
"Researchers at Georgetown University have found that at the most competitive colleges, only 14 percent of students come from the lower 50 percent of families by income. That figure has not increased over more than two decades, an indication that a generation of pledges to diversify has not amounted to much. Top colleges differ markedly in how aggressively they hunt for qualified teenagers from poorer families, how they assess applicants who need aid, and how they distribute the available aid dollars."
U.S. News & World Report ranked Barnard among the country's “Most Generous” schools and the College’s financial-aid program received national recognition, in a Time magazine article and a Wall Street Journal piece, for its successful one-on-one counseling program for students applying for private loans.