I firmly believe that a capitalist society needs a safety net, preferably that safety net should be provided by the non-profit sector. Although that may not be enough. Any entitlements that the government provides should be need based. You want free food, you had better be poor. You want free medical care, you had better be poor. You want retirement, you should be poor.
Finally the easiest want to lift yourself out of poverty is to get a better job and you do that by going to school (or winning the lottery or starting your own business). Which if you want your school paid for, you had better be poor also.
That is why I find this article by CNN interesting.
Many believe admissions boosts for the poor, regardless of race, would be fairer. But for some civil rights advocates, the shift in the debate is alarming. They do not believe socio-economic affirmative action would do enough to help blacks and Latinos.
I disagree with that, if your need based funds are distributed based on need and need alone, the ones who need the most help will get it. Worst case you could make sure the racial break down of you funds matches the racial break down of your particular area. You can't get more fair than that. Anything that goes further to show favoritism is less fair.
Additionally, need based distribution of funds for schools should take into account performance the after the first year. If there is someone who is just as poor as you or poor and who will do better, they should get the money first. Let's through a little competition into the poor school populace.