Only 5 Colleges Do Well by Low-Income Students, Report Says

6/3/2011: Becky Supiano in the Chronicle:

To come up with a benchmark for affordability, the group used Npsas data to calculate how much of a family’s income would be required to pay the average cost of college after grant aid at colleges generally, and found that it was 27 percent of income for those who made $54,001 to $80,400.

The authors explain that “one possible way to identify model institutions is to look for those that, at the very least, expect their lowest-income students to contribute no more that what middle-income students do as a proportion of household income.”

So they calculated 27 percent of the average family income in the lowest group, about $17,000, and come up with about $4,600. By that guideline, 65 of the 1,186 colleges were affordable—10 private nonprofits, 55 public institutions, and no for-profits.

Next the group considered graduation rates. Because data on graduation rates for low-income students were not available, the authors looked at each college’s overall graduation rate. Only 29 of the colleges that met the net-price bar had graduation rates that were at least 50 percent.

Finally the group eliminated colleges from the set if less than 30 percent of their students received Pell Grants, the average of all the colleges in their analysis. After that final step, only the five were left.

 Interestingly, UNC-Greensboro was one of the 5. That’s were the much criticized former UO Provost Linda Brady landed. Her major accomplishment at UO was starting “Pathways Oregon” a program to pay UO tuition and fees for low income students. Last I heard, that program is now underfunded, and turning away eligible students.

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