It IS better to be born rich and stupid than smart and poor: Gifted children from poorer families are less likely to graduate than wealthy but low-achieving students

Money really does trump smarts when it comes to a college degree, according to new research.

A study finds that students from wealthy backgrounds are more than twice as likely to graduate from college as their poorer counterparts.

What's more, naturally 'gifted' students from low income backgrounds are less likely to graduate than mere average students from wealthy families, according to Daily Mail.

Researchers at New York University used a database of more than a million individual genomes for their study.

The database makes correlations between each individual's upbringing and the presence of genes closely linked to educational achievement.

Scientists behind the new study combined these results with the college performance of each individual.

They found that 'gifted' pupils are found in almost equal quantities among children in low-income and high-income families.

But gifted students - those with a genetic score in the top quarter for educational achievement - were not guaranteed success.

Only about 24 per cent of people born to low-income fathers in that high-potential group graduated from college.

This is less than half of the 63 per cent of gifted students born to high-income fathers who graduated.

Around 27 per cent of students who scored at the bottom quarter of the genetic index, but were born to wealthy backgrounds, graduated from college.

This meant that the least gifted children from high-income families were three per cent more likely to graduate than gifted children from poorer backgrounds.

Researchers said the findings could change how we view college achievement among high and low income families.

'It goes against the narrative that there are substantial genetic differences between people who are born into wealthy households and those born into poverty,' said expert Kevin Thom, a New York University economist and author of the study.

'If you don't have the family resources, even the bright kids - the kids who are naturally gifted - are going to have to face uphill battles.'

Coauthor Nicholas Papageorge added: 'Their potential is being wasted. And that's not good for them.

'All those people who didn't go to college who had those high genetic scores, could they have cured cancer?'