The Undermatching Problem
A Phenomenon Plaguing the Nation
Undermatching is a phenomenon in American higher education in which well-qualified high school students, often from less affluent households, are not matched with competitive colleges. Undermatching is generally not believed to be caused by discriminatory policies by college admissions offices but rather by a lack of applications from well-qualified high school students.
High-achieving, low-income students may be unaware of all financial aid opportunities available to them, and may be deterred by application fees and tuition costs.
Only 8% of high-achieving, low-income students are “achievement typical” in their application patterns. The vast majority of high-achieving, low-income students don't apply to a selective college or university.
High-achieving, low-income students who attend undermatched colleges and universities, on average, pay more than if they had attended a more competitive institution.