Overall increases in tuition and state universities accepting more out-of-state and foreign students who pay higher tuition has led to decline in low-income students in top public colleges.[i] The problem is caused by state spending on higher education that decreased by 18% since 2008, according to the Center of Budget and Policy Priorities. The College Access Index keeps track of student income; it found that the average percentage of first year students who received Pell grants, indicating they come from the bottom half of family income, fell from 24% in 2012 to 22% in 2016. Some colleges also cope by accepting more students, leading to crowding.
[i] David Leonhardt, “The Assault on Colleges—and the American Dream,” New York Times, May 25, 2017.