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…”

Homelessness and Food Insecurity Among College Students

  • Cal State University looks to stem homelessness, hunger among students, By Josh Dulaney, June 21, 2016, Long Beach Press Telegram: “On the heels of a report showing close to one in 10 Cal State University students are homeless or face housing instability, officials met this week in Long Beach to come up with solutions to help students. ‘I think we’re going to start getting some greater awareness across this country because of Cal State — because of our size and importance — is raising this issue across the nation, and we’re not alone in doing so,’ Chancellor Timothy P. White said at the outset of the two-day meeting at the Chancellor’s Office…”
  • Food pantries address a growing hunger problem at colleges, By Stephanie Saul, June 22, 2016, New York Times: “Tucked away in a discreet office atBrooklyn College’s Student Center, beyond the pool tables and wide-screen TVs where her classmates congregate, Rebecca Harmata discovered a lifeline.  A psychology major who works in a doctor’s office to pay for her education, Ms. Harmata describes a break-even, paycheck-to-paycheck existence, with little left over for luxuries — or even for food.  So when she saw a sign last fall advertising the school’s new free food pantry, she decided to take advantage…”

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…”

Low-Income Students at Elite Colleges

For the poor in the Ivy League, a full ride isn’t always what they imagined, By Nick Anderson, May 16, 2016, Washington Post: “To reach the Ivy League after growing up poor seems like hitting the jackpot. Students get a world-class education from schools that promise to meet full financial needs without making them take out loans. But the reality of a full ride isn’t always what they had dreamed it would be.  Here at Columbia University, money pressures lead many to cut corners on textbook purchases and skip city excursions routine for affluent classmates. Some borrow thousands of dollars a year to pay bills. Some feel obliged to send money home occasionally to help their families. Others spend less on university meal plans, slipping extra food into their backpacks when they leave a dining hall and hunting for free grub through a Facebook network called CU Meal Share…”

Youth Employment

It’s a tough job market for the young without college degrees, By Patricia Cohen, May 10, 2016, New York Times: “For seniors graduating from the University of Michigan this month, employers have been lining up since the fall to offer interviews and boast of their companies’ benefits. Recruiters would ask when their competitors were coming, said Geni Harclerode, the university’s assistant director of employer development, and then they’d say: ‘Well, we want to come the week before.’  ‘This has been one of our largest seasons of hiring,’ she said. ‘The job market has been very good.’  The outlook for many high school graduates is more challenging, as Vynny Brown can attest. Now 20, he graduated two years ago from Waller High School in Texas, and has been working for nearly a year at Pappasito’s Cantina in Houston, part of a chain of Tex-Mex restaurants. He earns $7.25 an hour filling takeout orders or $2.13 an hour plus tips as a server, which rarely adds up to more than the minimum, he said. He would like to apply to be a manager, but those jobs require some college experience…”

College Affordability

As college prices soar, poorest students fall further behind, By Stacy Teicher Khadaroo, April 29, 2016, Christian Science Monitor: “Hundreds of food pantries cropping up on college campuses offer one stark symbol of the gulf between the experiences of rich and poor as they reach for the American dream.  It symbolizes a fundamental challenge facing US families: Even as students from all income backgrounds agree they need it, higher education is getting harder and harder to afford.  In fact, one newly released study suggests the gap in college attainment between students at the top and bottom of the income scale has been widening…”

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…”

College Students and Food Insecurity

Colleges beginning to address the issue of student hunger, By Bill Schackner, March 7, 2016, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: “Matt Armento’s first trip to the food pantry on the Community College of Allegheny County’s South Campus was as a sophomore volunteering to hand out pasta, canned goods and fruit to other students just scraping by. Honors students at CCAC South had decided that their service project would be to staff the pantry during its soft opening last fall. An honors student himself, Mr. Armento was there to join them. But in reality, he was facing the same financial pressures that had brought his peers there for assistance. So when the pantry held its grand opening this semester, he came back — this time as a recipient…”

Stateline’s State of the States Report

State of the States 2016, January 25, 2016, Stateline: “Stateline’s annual State of the States series looks at some of the pressing issues state lawmakers are facing as they begin their work this month. The five-part series includes analytical articles, infographics and interactives…”

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…”

Education Savings Accounts

This innovative idea is helping low-income families save for college, By Jillian Berman, September 2, 2015, MarketWatch: “When he was a first-grader, Emily Gardner’s 8-year-old son Elijah Peters told her he wasn’t interested in college. He dreamed of becoming a handyman like his father instead. She signed him up for a college savings plan anyway. Now she’s glad she did. After a field trip to Manchester University in North Manchester, Ind., where Elijah held a pig’s heart and used Mentos to create an explosion in a bottle of Diet Coke, he began depositing his birthday and Christmas money into the account and asking his grandparents to help him save even more. ‘Just to hear that from a child who said ‘I’m not going to college,’ it is fantastic,’ said Gardner, 31, of Wabash, Ind., where she is director of the city’s downtown economic and community development program…”

Homeless College Students

How to help the students with no homes?, By Kelly Field, August 24, 2015, Chronicle of Higher Education: “The scars on Christine Banjo’s arms are still there — faint marks from the bed bugs that bit her when her family was living in a motel room during her high-school years. ‘Battle wounds,’ she calls them: a faded but constant reminder that the college junior has been chronically homeless since she was 7. During the school year, Ms. Banjo, who is 20, lives in the dorms at Norfolk State University. But on summer vacation and during other breaks, she has no set place to go. There’s no room for her in the rooming house where her parents live, so she crashes with friends or sublets space in a cramped apartment. Most days, her only meal is the sandwich and fries she gets during her shift at McDonald’s. She returns there on her days off just to have something to eat…”

Community Scholarship – Michigan

Report: How one poor, rural Michigan town is sending ‘all its kids to college’, By Brian McVicar, August 19, 2015, Grand Rapids Press: “Baldwin, a small community in rural Lake County, is making national headlines after The Atlantic took an in-depth look at a community scholarship that aims to send every high school graduate, many of whom are low-income, to college. The piece tells the story of the Baldwin Promise, which provides up to $5,000 per-year for students to attend college, and the big impact the fund is having not only on college access, but on changing the community’s perception of higher education…”

College Students and Food Insecurity

Rise in college food banks linked to the economy and campus demographics, By Jason Song, August 3, 2015, Los Angeles Times: “For years, the food bank at Michigan State University was one of the few, if not the only, such organizations in the country. By 2008, only four other groups offered college students free meals. But as the economy continued to sink, Michigan State began to get a lot of company. There are now 199 similar groups throughout the country, according to the College and University Food Bank Alliance, including food pantries at UC Berkeley and UCLA. The California State University system is conducting a study to determine the number of students on its campuses who do not have regular sources of food and housing. And one student is attempting to convince vendors and restaurants at Santa Monica College to accept food stamps.

Low-Income Students and College Readiness

ACT report: College readiness remains flat among low-income students, By Andrew Phillips, July 22, 2015, The Gazette: “The percentage of low-income students who met college-readiness benchmarks on the ACT exam last year remained flat from the year before, according to a report released this week by ACT Inc. and a national education group. The report includes data from students nationwide in the high school graduating class of 2014 who took the ACT exam. It was released Monday by ACT Inc., the Iowa City-based testing company, and the National Council for Community and Education Partnerships…”

Homeless College Students

Homeless college students navigate uncertainty, By Ted Gregory, May 18, 2015, Chicago Tribune: “This month, with a mix of anxiety and exhilaration, college students across the country will cram their brains for final exams, then pack their bags for home.  It’s a little different for undergraduates Malachi Hoye and Caprice Manny. They don’t have homes to return to — at least not in the traditional sense. Hoye and Manny are among the estimated 56,000 college students nationwide who are considered homeless.  Those young people are a somewhat broadly defined population that experts say is underreported, gaining more attention and expected to grow. But formal efforts to accommodate homeless college students are relatively new and fragmented: Schools, the federal government, a fledgling national organization — even a pilot project by a Humboldt Park nonprofit — are among the entities trying to solve a complicated challenge…”

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..?”

Foster Care Youth and Post-Secondary Education

Colorado senator’s bill aims to get youth from foster care, into college, By Jenny Brundin, February 10, 2015, Colorado Public Radio: “State Sen. Linda Newell meets a lot of youth in foster care. One day one of them posted a message on her Facebook page. ‘And [it] said, you’ve got to take a look into this,’ recalls the Littleton Democrat.  ‘This’ refers to the dismal figures, confirmed by a University Northern Colorado study last fall, on the number of foster youth graduating from high school…”

College Completion Gap

  • In earning college degrees, gap between rich and poor has grown, study finds, By Michael Muskal, February 3, 2015, Los Angeles Times: “The education gap between rich and poor continues to grow, becoming a chasm of opportunity that often blocks the search for a better economic life, according to a report released Tuesday. The study, titled ‘Indicators of Higher Education Equity in the United States,’ was prepared by two groups that analyze college costs and degree attainment. The groups are the Alliance for Higher Education and Democracy (AHEAD) at the University of Pennsylvania graduate school of education; and the Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education, a research institute in Washington…”
  • Big gap in college graduation rates for rich and poor, study finds, By Melissa Korn, February 3, 2015, Wall Street Journal: “College completion rates for wealthy students have soared in 40 years but barely budged for low-income students, leading to a yawning gap in educational attainment between rich and poor that could have long-lasting implications for the socioeconomic divide. In 2013, 77% of adults from families in the top income quartile earned at least bachelor’s degrees by the time they turned 24, up from 40% in 1970, according to a new report from the University of Pennsylvania’s Alliance for Higher Education and Democracy and the Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education. But 9% of people from the lowest income bracket did the same in 2013, up from 6% in 1970…”

College Affordability – Michigan

Low-income students seeing huge cost hikes at some Michigan universities, By Ron French, January 5, 2015, MLive: “Michigan’s poorest college students are bearing the brunt of cost increases at some state public universities, decreasing the chances Michigan’s most vulnerable students will earn degrees. Over a recent four-year period, six of the state’s 15 public universities increased the net cost of attendance for their poorest students ‒ those from families earning less than $30,000 a year ‒ more than for their wealthier classmates…”