I teach at a community college that is in an affluent community. Nevertheless, many of my students are apparently quite poor. They can’t afford the textbook, they come to class without a calculator, or even a pencil. I would feel very sorry for their level of poverty, but I see evidence suggesting they aren’t quite so poor.
They have fancy cell phones that have games and Internet connections. They dye their hair and wear jewelry, and often have multiple piercings. They have tattoos. They bring Starbuck’s coffee to class. They buy their lunch. They talk about the movies they’ve seen.
I am not going to try to tell them how to spend their money, and I will sometimes lend them a pen or even a calculator for classwork, but I am not going to lose any sleep about how their lack of money is interfering with their education.