Sunday, February 23, 2014
Mo' Money, Mo' Education -- Only 50% of Low-Income Students Attend College Vs. 80% of Rich Kids -- President Obama Fights For Change!
In January 2014, President Obama met with more than 80 college presidents to discuss how they can increase enrollment and graduation among low-income students. Although college enrollment among low-income students has gained momentum, the recession has caused those gains to fall back close to their 1993 level.
The Numbers Are Too Low For Low-Income Students
According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a federal center for collecting and analyzing data about education in the U.S. and other nations, 50.9 percent of low-income high school graduates were attending either two- or four-year colleges in 2012. But this is less than the 2007 percentage of 58.4, and only one half of a percent higher than the rate for 1993. Even worse, the numbers look especially bad compared to the 80 percent of upper-income high school graduates who were attending college.
More Money = Better Education
What this means is that upper- and middle-income students are far more likely to attend college than low-income students. The NCES defines low income as the bottom 20 percent, middle income at 60 percent, and upper income as the top 20 percent of income levels. U.S. high school graduation rates range from 93.5 percent for Asian/Pacific Islanders, 83 percent for whites, 71.4 percent for Hispanics and 66.1 percent for blacks.
Many Low Income Students Don't Know Their Options
The problem is not related to a lack of understanding that education is critical to preventing or getting out of poverty. The issue is related to finding ways to reach more low-income students and educating them on how they, too, can attend college. This includes helping them prepare for college early and connecting them to the right schools. These and other solutions were discussed recently by President Obama at a White House summit in which higher institution presidents and business leaders were invited to share their thoughts and ideas on how to expand college options for low-income students.