Socioeconomic Diversity on College Campuses

Going to college often means meeting people from different socioeconomic backgrounds. Of course, money can be, and probably always will be, a touchy subject. There are just a few things students need to keep in mind when thinking about socioeconomic diversity.

Going to college often means meeting people from different socioeconomic backgrounds. Of course, money can be, and probably always will be, a touchy subject. Even among the more or less “broke” college students, it can be awkward when talking about whether or not people have enough money to go out one night, or if they can afford to take a trip to see their friends during the weekend.

Some people may think that higher education is only for the wealthy, when in actuality many students simply can’t afford to get a postsecondary education without some sort of financial help. In fact, the majority do receive some financial aid—about two-thirds of all college students. And socioeconomic diversity, like any form of diversity, only enhances the learning experience by introducing students to differing perspectives and backgrounds. 

There are two things college students, whether economically well off or not, should remember: First, never be embarrassed of your situation. There’s no need to be! Colleges offer a number of programs to help pay your way, from payment plans to scholarships and grants to budgeting pamphlets and advice, all so you feel comfortable with your financial situation. Schools have financial aid offices to help students and parents with loans, guide them in applying for financial aid, and provide information families need to help them navigate the process. Some schools also provide work-study, which provides certain students with part-time employment on campus. Some students are able to choose their campus job and some are assigned one, and this allows students to earn money from the school that will be applied towards their tuition. If you’re in need of financial assistance, one great website to check out is the Federal Student Aid website from the U.S. Department of Education. Also, schools are sometimes ranked based on how giving they are with financial aid. compiled this list of colleges that meet students’ financial need—most cover all or nearly all of students’ need. It includes Ivy Leaguers like Dartmouth College and Cornell University and non-Ivy League institutions like Emory University and Vassar College.

Second, students need to keep in mind that money situations differ from family to family and person to person; it’s important to not only recognize this but also to be sensitive about it. Students (everyone, really) need to be respectful of others’ financial backgrounds.

When it comes to general finances and day-to-day conversations, college students should remember that money doesn’t need to be a daily topic with friends. Some people may not want to talk about their situations. I know it can be awkward, and I try to avoid those conversations as much as possible! For parents of college students, it’s crucial to talk to your kids about your finances not only so they feel comfortable but also so they understand the situation. That makes it easier to talk about and seek financial aid assistance if necessary.

Need more suggestions on college financial aid? Check out the 12 Most Helpful College Financial Aid Tips post from the! It’s helpful to both students and parents, and gives great ideas about applying for financial aid!

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now


About Maria Martinolich

Maria Martinolich

Maria Martinolich is a student in the College of Communication at Boston University, majoring in Broadcast Journalism with a concentration in History. She's heavily involved with BU’s TV station (BUTV10), radio station (WTBU), and Greek life and was also a Fox News intern. Maria is originally from Long Island, New York, and although she’s a Yankee fan, she loves being in Boston! She hopes to be a news anchor or the next Bob Costas and cover the Olympics someday.

Being of Greek, Croatian, and Polish descent, Maria has a lot of diversity in herself and loves learning about new cultures, organizations, ethnicities, causes, and people. Because she grew up appreciating all kinds of diversity—and also attends such a diverse university—she's extremely excited about writing for the College Diversity section of CollegeXpress!


Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress
Rana Slosberg

Rana Slosberg

Slosberg College Solutions LLC

My favorite part of CollegeXpress is the 800+ lists which have all kinds of hard-to-find information. These lists are helpful when I’m creating college lists, and I also use them to give students a feel for a particular college or university.

Keydi Banegas

Keydi Banegas

Scholarship for Students of Color Winner, Class of 2022

CollegeXpress is a great application that helped me search for many different scholarships, and it narrows the scholarships depending on how you set your profile. Not only that, but it helps you choose different colleges to apply to by finding matches through the description of your profile. It was the best experience for me.

Makiyah Murray

Makiyah Murray

High School Class of 2021

The college application process has been a stressful one, but CollegeXpress has eased some of that stress with its readily available college resources. At the beginning of the process, I frequently used the college search feature, and now that I’m almost done applying, I’ve started using the scholarship search. Both of these resources have made it easier to find relevant information.

Keaun Brown

Keaun Brown

$2,000 Community Service Scholarship Winner, 2020

As I transition to furthering my education, I can say with certainty that it simply wouldn’t be possible without the help of generous organizations such as CollegeXpress. Those who initially founded CX had no idea their platform would give a plethora of information to a first-generation homeless kid native to the ghettos of over half a dozen states. Everyone at CX and Carnegie Dartlet gave me a chance at a future when the statistics said I had none. And for that, I thank them.

Elizabeth Stafford

Elizabeth Stafford

High School Class of 2021

As a UK student moving to California due to my dad's job in the military, when I first signed up for CollegeXpress a few months ago, the college process ahead seemed daunting and incredibly stressful. That all changed after I started to explore what this website had to offer. Not only was I helped by the vast array of resources available to me, but through being a CollegeXpress member, there have been so many more benefits. There have been emails with college tips—all of which I found incredibly helpful—as well as invitations to events and notifications of scholarships that'll make college possible for me. Overall, I'm very grateful to CollegeXpress for all of these things and more. Not only have they helped me grow my understanding of the college process, but they've also helped me to grow as a person, giving me new skills that I can take with me through life.

College Matches

Colleges You May Be Interested In

University of Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh, PA

Princeton University

Princeton, NJ

Boston University

Boston, MA

Columbia University

New York, NY