Nominate your favorite local business in the 2018 Best Of Greater Williamsburg Contest

'Low income' an unnecessary descriptor

I would like to comment on the Sept. 27 article from the College of William and Mary notes section titled, "College accepts higher number of Pell-eligible students."

I applaud the college’s commitment and effort to serve residents of the commonwealth and enhance the socioeconomic diversity of its student population. Conversely, I am deeply concerned with how this scenario is verbally characterized.

In reference to Pell Grants, why must the second sentence read "the grant is given by the federal government to low-income students in pursuit of their first bachelor's degree?" Could the same passage not have said that the grant was provided to eligible students? Why low-income students? What is low-income? Is that not a relative term depending on the context in which it is used? A $100K per year could be considered low-income to an individual or family making $1M, and $1M might be low-income to a multi-millionaire or billionaire.

Using descriptive terms such as “socioeconomic diversity,” and “low-income” can have the appearance, even if inadvertent, of suggesting a particular narrative. I respectfully encourage your reporting be less evocative in its presentation, and may your inferences serve to only strengthen the depth of your information and coverage.

Clayton L. Ashby


Copyright © 2018, The Virginia Gazette