Low-Income Students Losing Ground in American Colleges and Universities

Barry Lenson

 

Fewer low-income and moderate-income students are entering American colleges and universities – and fewer are graduating.

Those are the most important findings in “The Rising Price of Inequality: How Inadequate Grant Aid Limits College Access and Persistence,” a report just submitted to Congress by The Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance.

Here are some statistics from this hefty, 63-page report:

  • Between 1992 and 2004, initial enrollment rates of academically qualified low and moderate-income high school graduates in four-year colleges shifted downward: from 54 percent to 40 percent, and from 59 percent to 53 percent, respectively.
  • In 1992, 78 percent of low-income students graduated from the colleges they entered. Today, 75 percent do.

Why are less-advantaged students losing ground in American higher education? According to the report, two things are to blame: rising college costs and the drying up of grant money.

The report states: “At a minimum, federal policy must seek to ensure that states and public colleges hold Pell Grant recipients harmless against increases in cost of attendance, through increases in state and institutional need-based grant aid.”

That’s true – disadvantaged students do need financial assistance. But somehow, The Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance failed to notice that online learning could play a major role in making education available to students from all economic backgrounds.

When America realizes the potential of online college courses, things won’t look so grim after all.

 


Previous Post Next Post