College and the Working Poor

From the Institute for Higher Education Policy comes this report on the working poor in college. These students face a conundrum: They need to finish college to earn more, but they don’t earn enough in their current jobs to pay for school. They work so many hours that they can’t enroll full time, but full financial aid is available only to full-time students.

Even with financial aid, thought, these students have to come up with thousands of dollars a year to cover living expenses and tuition.

Many of the students that I teach face these impossible choices: as tuition goes up, they either have to work even more to pay for school, or they have to pile on more credits than they want to so that they’ll be eligible for loans. Many try to do both.

Are there campuses working on ways to make college more accessible to these students?

One thought on “College and the Working Poor

  1. lindito July 10, 2007 / 11:24 am

    i think the small private schools with big endowments are working towards making things accessible/more accessible for the working poor, but many people are unable to move to these places where such schools exist to be able to take advantage of it.

    for most people, the closest college is either a community joint, State U. or Local State U., or an HBCU, almost all of which have large numbers of disadvantaged students and for the most part are unable to handle the stress of so many people needing help.

    yet i know of people at small liberal arts schools who fell into this trap and the financial aid office basically invented scholarships just for them. (if you have 1,500 students, but are sitting on $500 million and your entire operating budget is basically skimmed from the interest on that plus those who can pay full price, you can do such things.)

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