Speaking of Ed Trust, they've come out with an important new report (the press release is below):
In "Priced Out: How the Wrong Financial-Aid Policies Hurt Low-Income Students," The Education Trust demonstrates how much low-income students must stretch to pay for college, even after grant aid is taken into account. The report (download here) finds that just five of the nation's nearly 1,200 four-year colleges and universities have student bodies that are at least 30 percent low-income and offer low-income students a reasonable chance at a bachelor's degree at an relatively affordable cost. (A sixth institution, Berea College, makes it its mission to educate and graduate low-income students and therefore charges no tuition.)
The result? Far too many low-income students are priced out of higher education.
The average low-income family, the study finds, must contribute an amount roughly equivalent to 72 percent of its annual household income each year just to send one child to a four-year college. That's after all sources of grant aid are taken into account. Meanwhile, middle-class and high-income families contribute amounts equivalent to just 27 percent and 14 percent of their yearly earnings, respectively.
Budget-balancing battles at the state and federal levels threaten to make this bad situation even worse, by cutting grant aid for low-income students. For example, the Pell Grant Program, the cornerstone of federal efforts to make college affordable for these students, faces serious threats in the FY 2012 budget negotiations. The U.S. Senate recently rejected the House of Representatives' move to slash support for the program, yet it remains unclear how Pell ultimately will fare once the Senate finally drafts its own budget. At stake are the dreams of the more than 10 million Americans who rely on Pell to afford college.
Unprecedented Study on the Real Cost of College
Shows Low-Income Students Have Few Choices
The Education Trust reveals how misguided federal, state and institutional financial-aid policies
leave only a handful of institutions offering viable options for low-income students
WASHINGTON (June 1, 2011) — As proposed cuts threaten to slash both state higher education budgets and the Federal Pell Grant Program, a report released today by The Education Trust demonstrates just how much low-income students are already struggling to pay for a college education. The average low-income family must contribute an amount roughly equivalent to 72 percent of its annual household income each year just to send one child to a four-year college.
Middle-class and high-income families fare much better. They contribute amounts equivalent to just 27 percent and 14 percent of their yearly earnings, respectively.
The new report, "Priced Out: How the Wrong Financial-Aid Policies Hurt Low-Income Students,"