Small Grant Programs for Low-Income College Students

Universities try new way of providing aid to boost graduation rates for low-income students, By Danielle Douglas-Gabriel, February 6, 2017, Washington Post: “Several public universities are taking part in a pilot program to provide small-dollar grants to help low-income students complete their degrees.  The five-year project is a collaboration of Temple University and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, which will use a nearly $4 million grant from the Education Department to examine and build out completion aid programs at up to 10 universities…”

Low-income Students and Financial Aid for College

Many low-income students don’t know they can get money for college, survey shows, By Karen Farkas, October 4, 2016, Cleveland Plain Dealer: “Many low-income high school students do not know they can receive money for college, according to a report by the National College Access Network.  A survey showed students who did not apply for financial aid did not know what aid is and did not know how they could get it.  Promoting and providing help to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, the primary mission of the organization and its members, is not enough, the group said…”

Elite Colleges and Low-Income Students

Wealthy universities are doing a poor job helping low-income students, report says, By Danielle Douglas-Gabriel, August 4, 2016, Washington Post: “The top 4 percent of colleges and universities hold three quarters of all endowment wealth in higher education, yet four in five of those 138 schools expect the neediest families to hand over more than 60 percent of their income to cover the cost of attendance, according to a report released Thursday by the Education Trust…”

Community Colleges and Federal Student Loans

The surprising number of community college students without access to federal student loans, By Danielle Douglas-Gabriel, July 1, 2016, Washington Post: “A growing number of community colleges are exiting the federal student loan program, leaving nearly a million students without access to low-cost options to pay for school, according to a new study from the Institute for College Access and Success.  The advocacy group found that nearly 1 in 10 community college students in 32 states have no access to federal student loans. Nearly half of these students are in California or North Carolina. In eight states, including Alaska, Alabama and Louisiana, more than 20 percent of students attend schools that have opted out of the federal government’s student loan program…”

Pell Grant Program for Prisoners

12,000 inmates to receive Pell grants to take college classes, By Danielle Douglas-Gabriel, June 24, 2016, Washington Post: “As many as 12,000 prison inmates will be able to use federal Pell grants to finance college classes next month, despite a 22-year congressional ban on providing financial aid to prisoners.  The Obama administration selected 67 colleges and universities Thursday for the Second Chance Pell Pilot Program, an experiment to help prisoners earn an associate’s or bachelor’s degree while incarcerated. The schools will work with more than 100 federal and state penitentiaries to enroll inmates who qualify for Pell, a form of federal aid that covers tuition, books and fees for college students with financial need. Prisoners must be eligible for release within five years of enrolling in coursework…”

Pell Grants for High School Students in College Courses

Low-income high schoolers to get grants for college courses, By Jennifer C. Kerr (AP), May 17, 2016, San Jose Mercury News: “For the first time, thousands of low-income high-school students in nearly two dozen states will soon be able to get federal grants to take college courses for credit, part of a program the Obama administration plans to begin this summer.  The experimental program allows high school students to apply for federal Pell grant money to pay for college courses. The ‘dual enrollment’ program is designed to help students from lower-income backgrounds…”

Colleges and Low-Income Students

  • Are colleges doing enough to support low-income students?, By Lucy Schouten, March 24, 2016, Christian Science Monitor: “Breaking the cycle of poverty can start with admission to college, but it doesn’t end with just getting in.  A report by the US Department of Education describes practical strategies for the federal government, states, and the institutions themselves to help with recruiting – and graduating – students from low-income backgrounds…”
  • A new approach to increasing low-income college grads, By Amy Scott, March 24, 2016, Marketplace: “Just over a decade ago, low-income students at Georgia State University graduated at barely half the rate of other students. Today that gap is closed, thanks to initiatives like more intensive advising and grants of as little as $300 to cover unmet financial need.  Meanwhile, the ASAP program at City University of New York nearly doubled completion rates for community college students, by giving them more academic support…”
  • Do financial aid policies make paying for college harder for some?, By Corey Fedde, March 18, 2016, Christian Science Monitor: “College is getting more expensive – especially for low income students.  On Tuesday, a study released findings that low income students face significant challenges meeting the financial requirements to attend many private universities and an increasing number of public universities, despite financial aid.  The study was the third report in a multi-year series from The New America Foundation’s Education Policy Program. Together, the studies suggest the issue is getting worse…”

Student Aid for Nontraditional Education

New federal program offers students aid for nontraditional education, By Patricia Cohen, October 14, 2015, New York Times: “Hoping to offer more alternatives, particularly to low-income students considering substandard for-profit colleges, the Education Department is unveiling a pilot program on Wednesday to allow students to use federal loans and grants for nontraditional education like boot camp software coding programs and MOOCs, or massive open online courses…”

Top Colleges and Low-Income Students

Why many smart, low-income students don’t apply to elite schools, By Shereen Marisol Meraji, March 16, 2015, Minnesota Public Radio: “Right now, high school seniors across the country are trying hard not to think about what is — or isn’t — coming in the mail.  They’re anxiously awaiting acceptance letters (or the opposite) from their top-choice colleges and universities. But this story isn’t about them. It’s about a big group of seniors who could get into great schools but don’t apply: high-achieving students from low-income families who live outside of America’s big cities.  These students often wind up in community college or mediocre four-year schools. It’s a phenomenon known in education circles as ‘undermatching.’  Why does it happen..?”

Student Loan Debt Relief

Student loan relief: Obama’s order caps payments at 10% of income, By Christi Parsons, June 9, 2014, Los Angeles Times: “President Obama on Monday signed an executive order that lets millions of college graduates cap their student loan payments at 10% of their income, a move he says will help ‘open the doors of opportunity for all.’ By amending student loan regulations to put the cap in place, Obama is making use of his executive powers to help alleviate the burden for young Americans increasingly saddled with student loans . . .”

College Attendance

A case study in lifting college attendance, By David Leonhardt, June 10, 2014, New York Times: “Sydney Nye was a straight-A student with an SAT score high enough to apply to any college in the country. When her senior year of high school in Wilmington, Del., started about nine months ago, she had dreams of becoming a chemical engineer. But she did not spend much time dreaming about where she would go to college. The notion of attending anything other than a local college seemed too far-fetched. She knew her parents — a dental assistant and a hairdresser, neither of whom had attended college — would have a hard time paying the nearly $100 application fee to elite colleges, let alone the tuition . . . “

College Graduation Gap

Who gets to graduate? By Paul Tough, May 18, 2014, New York Times: “For as long as she could remember, Vanessa Brewer had her mind set on going to college. The image of herself as a college student appealed to her — independent, intelligent, a young woman full of potential — but it was more than that; it was a chance to rewrite the ending to a family story that went off track 18 years earlier, when Vanessa’s mother, then a high-achieving high-school senior in a small town in Arkansas, became pregnant with Vanessa. Vanessa’s mom did better than most teenage mothers. She married her high-school boyfriend, and when Vanessa was 9, they moved to Mesquite, a working-class suburb of Dallas, where she worked for a mortgage company. Vanessa’s parents divorced when she was 12, and money. . .”

College Affordability

College affordability: Low-income students bearing brunt of price hikes at some West Michigan schools, By Brian McVicar, April 2, 2014, mlive.com: “Students from low-income families are seeing college costs rise at a greater rate than their wealthy counterparts at several West Michigan schools, a trend that could hurt the poor as the cost of obtaining a degree continues to rise. The trend can be seen at schools such as Hope College, Calvin College, Cornerstone University and Grand Valley State University, federal data show…”

Parents as Scholars Program – Maine

First a parent, then a scholar: How this Maine woman finally completed college, By Luisa Deprez and Sandy Butler, February 21, 2014, Bangor Daily News: “One-third of American women are living at or near the brink of poverty, often working low-income jobs and raising their children, according to a recent Shriver Report. It underscores the well-established fact that higher education is essential to lifting women out of poverty. But access to education is often difficult…”

First Generation College Students

Colleges try to meet needs of first-generation students, By Marcella Bombardieri, September 30, 2013, Boston Globe: “To the legions of students who have been tutored and molded and prodded toward a top college most of their young lives, it would be an absurd question: How many of you had to explain to your parents what MIT is?…These students are ‘first generation,’ the first in their families to go to college. And they are the third class to whom MIT has reached out during orientation, not only to offer support but to instill pride in young people who have shown extraordinary drive yet often feel alone and inadequate amid affluent classmates who have already published papers or traveled the world…”

Top Colleges and Low-Income Students

For low-income students considering college, a nudge to aim high, By David Leonhardt, September 25, 2013, New York Times: “The group that administers the SAT has begun a nationwide outreach program to try to persuade more low-income high school seniors who scored high on standardized tests to apply to select colleges. The group, the College Board, is sending a package of information on top colleges to every senior who has an SAT or Preliminary SAT score in the top 15 percent of test takers and whose family is in the bottom quarter of income distribution. The package, which includes application fee waivers to six colleges of the student’s choice, will be sent to roughly 28,000 seniors…”

Top Colleges and Low-Income Students

Efforts to recruit poor students lag at some elite colleges, By Richard Pérez-Peña, July 30, 2013, New York Times: “With affirmative action under attack and economic mobility feared to be stagnating, top colleges profess a growing commitment to recruiting poor students. But a comparison of low-income enrollment shows wide disparities among the most competitive private colleges. A student at Vassar, for example, is three times as likely to receive a need-based Pell Grant as one at Washington University in St. Louis…”

 

Top Colleges and Low-Income Students

Better colleges failing to lure talented poor, By David Leonhardt, March 16, 2013, New York Times: “Most low-income students who have top test scores and grades do not even apply to the nation’s best colleges, according to a new analysis of every high school student who took the SAT in a recent year. The pattern contributes to widening economic inequality and low levels of mobility in this country, economists say, because college graduates earn so much more on average than nongraduates do. Low-income students who excel in high school often do not graduate from the less selective colleges they attend…”

College Graduation Gap – Kentucky

College graduation gap widens for low-income Kentuckians, By Linda B. Blackford, July 9, 2012, Lexington Herald-Leader: “More Kentuckians are getting college degrees, but a troubling trend has emerged in who receives them. According to a new report, the gap between graduation rates for low-income college students and moderate- to high-income students jumped 8 percentage points between 2008 and 2010. In those two years, the graduation rate of low-income Kentucky students fell from 46 percent to 35 percent, according to an annual accountability report from the Council on Postsecondary Education. In comparison, the graduation rate of moderate- to high-income students dropped four percentage points, from 57 percent to 53 percent. The gap between graduation rates for rich and poor students increased from 10 percentage points to 18. The gap is connected to a bad economy, higher tuition rates and less state aid, and it’s a big problem, according to one expert on the economy and higher education. . .”

College Financial Aid

Student loans: Will Congress’s remedy favor middle class over poor?, By Mark Trumbull, April 25, 2012, Christian Science Monitor: “The surging student loan burden has the attention of President Obama and Congress. A jaw-dropping fact has become widely publicized: that student debt for the first time totals more than $1 trillion, well over the amount Americans owe on credit cards. But even as politicians consider fixes – especially how to avert an interest-rate hike affecting students come July 1 – the grant-style aid that’s most important to lower-income students is already experiencing a budget squeeze…”