Drawing more low-income students to college

Inside Higher Ed reports on a new consortium to make college more affordable and more accessible for low-income “B+” students who may not now aspire to colleges with higher graduation rates and more competitive admissions.

And as is often the case, the attention is focused on higher status colleges, not the regional state schools were *most* students enroll:

Meanwhile, the identity of the colleges being targeted in the initiative is one major line of criticism. Some argue that to truly help more low- and moderate-income students graduate, you need to pump money into the public colleges and universities they attend — often nonflagship state universities. While the low-income students who are admitted to Harvard thanks to this program will certainly benefit, critics say, the overall problem of access to higher education won’t be addressed, since most low-income students will never be admitted to these institutions.

via Effort launches to boost low-income enrollment at top colleges

Class, Race, and Student Debt

This report from Demos makes clear that student debt is disproportionately the problem of low-income and students of color.

Knowing that these students are also the least likely to make it to graduation makes the report more troubling.

  • Black and Latino students are dropping out with debt at higher rates than white students. At all schools, nearly 4-in-10 (39%) of Black borrowers drop out of college, compared to 29% of white borrowers. Around the same number (38%) of low-income borrowers1 drop out compared to less than a quarter of their higher-income peers. Nearly two-thirds of Black and Latino student borrowers at for-profit four-year schools drop out (65% and 67% respectively). Nearly half (47%) of Black student borrowers drop out with debt at for-profit 2, and less-than-2-,year institutions.

Study Abroad for Low Income College Students

A study has found important and long-term effects of scholarships for study abroad for Pell Grant eligible students. The list of benefits — personal, civic, academic–go far beyond gaining skills for “competing in a global economy”, yet I acknowledge that economic metrics are what matter most to many evaluators.

“The Evaluation data shows that the Gilman Scholarship is diversifying the kinds of students who study and intern abroad and the countries and regions where they go by offering awards to U.S. undergraduates who might otherwise not participate due to financial constraints,” the evaluation report states. “From changed perspectives on the world and new interests in working on global issues to focusing academic pursuits on international topics and deepening foreign language skills, the Gilman Scholarship has enabled students of limited financial means to develop the knowledge and competencies required to compete in a global economy.”

Public Colleges, Wealthier Students

 

Yet more on the lure of higher income students in these times of diminished state funding.

“Because the state contributes a smaller and smaller proportion of UW-Madison’s operating budget, the university administration naturally considers alternative ways of raising revenues, and the many wealthy applicants offer a quick, attractive alternative,” the study authors wrote.

More Complications of Financial Aid – for Juniors and Seniors

So much troubling in this article about the complications of financial aid for juniors and seniors, when this could all be simplified.

 

“There are so many technicalities,” Ms. Martinez-Pimental said. Some upperclassmen, she said, have to fill out five forms with different deadlines to get government and institutional aid renewed. Aside from paperwork problems, students can lose aid if they don’t take the correct distribution of credits or don’t complete at least two-thirds of the credits they are attempting to earn.

Why colleges use financial aid to attract wealthier students

Colleges continue to use financial aid to recruit wealthier students, rather than to support low-income students.

Attracting wealthy students, who can pay more, is often in colleges’ best interest. In some cases, Burd writes, colleges provide merit aid to wealthy students who aren’t high achieving. It’s cheaper to provide $5,000 merit scholarships to five wealthier students than to provide one $25,000 grant to a low-income student — even if the low-income student is academically superior — because the five wealthier students will be able to pay the rest of their tuition.

Temple U offers grant in exchange for students agreeing to work less, study more

More on financial aid, the working student, the lack of clarity about how many students struggle to pay for college while working low-wage jobs.

 

Temple pays students in additional financial aid to reduce their need to work so much that they delay graduation

“There was some pushback,” he said. “This was thought of as, ‘You’re paying kids not to work.’ And I had to be very clear. We’re not paying them to go home and play video games. We’re paying them to free them up from this need to earn money, so they can reallocate that time to course work and to staying on track to graduate.”

via Temple U offers grant in exchange for students agreeing to work less, study more.