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  THE LOW INCOME & URBAN HOUSING BLOG  

Monday, August 3, 2015

Many Low Income Families Miss Out on This Kind of Financial Aid

Low income family

More than 45 million people in the U.S. live at or below the poverty level. Yet many people who qualify for government benefits do not take advantage of it. Why? One troubling reason is because they simply don't know that the programs exist.

Programs to help low-income students go to college

College expense is something low-income families struggle with. They want to send their children to college but just can't afford it. The truth is, many of them can afford it, with financial aid. The Urban Institute, a Washington DC-based think tank, reports that in 2011-12, 90% of undergraduate college students from low-income families (incomes below $40,000) received an average of more than $11,000 in financial aid from federal, state and other institutional sources.

Money is available

But throughout the nation, fewer than half of students from low-income households enroll in college. Only about 12 percent of those who do enroll apply for financial aid. Why? They don't know it exists. Urban Institute feels more needs to be done to inform low-income families that help is available.

According to Urban Institute, one solution would be to reach students much earlier to inform them about available financial aid. Students and their families need to know that there are financial aid programs they could qualify for and receive money to help with college tuition, room and board, even books.

As the report by the Urban Institute explained, "If these families were made more aware of how feasible it is to go to college, they might be more likely to go."

Read more at www.urban.org/research/publication/delivering-early-information-about-college-financial-aid/view/full_report


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