Are Elon students wealthier than those at other schools?

by Dalton Cox

Elon University is sometimes stereotyped by its students as an educational haven for affluent academics. However, despite the well-manicured lawns, adorned in daffodils, and the well-manicured scholars, adorned in Lilly Pulitzer, Elon does not attract a particularly wealthier group of students than similar schools.

According to Elon Director of Financial Planning Patrick Murphy, approximately one-third of Elon’s students receive need-based aid.

“We see a significant number of students, about 10 percent, that you would call extremely high need, because they are eligible for the Pell Grant,” Murphy said. “That’s not as much as you would find in a state school, but I think that’s a pretty good amount for a school like Elon.”

Murphy also explained that approximately half of Elon students must pay off student loans after graduation.


Jamisen “Kat” Moore is an Elon First Year, who was selected to receive one of Elon’s Watson and Odyssey scholarships, which consider applicants on both merit-based and need-based criteria.

“I’m not as privileged as some of the kids here,” Moore said. “Most of my friends at Elon aren’t particularly privileged.”

Moore, however, remarked on what she perceived to me most people’s first impression of Elon.

“I’d probably think that most Elon people were upper-middle class, if I were on a tour,” Moore said.

Moore reflected on falsehood behind this common perception.

Stephanie Burke, Class of 2015, attends Elon without the assistance of finical aid. Burke observed that the stereotype often comes from the initial perceptions of Elon’s gilded student body.

“The rich kid stereotype is common because of the brand names on everything that people wear, or where they travel to, or based on where they’re from,” Burke said. “Also, I think that when people take unpaid internships in expensive cities and abroad, that’s pretty telling too.”

During her four years on campus, Burke came to realize the complexities behind this “rich kid” façade.

“I think that is a gross over estimation to call the majority of Elon kids wealthy or financially privileged,” Burke said. “There are more people than we realize that have student loans or are employed in some capacity, who depend on the paychecks they make.”

This article was written entirely by Dalton Cox. It is a portion of the collaborative article Behind the stereotype: Labels on Elon’s campus.