Opinion: Financial 'Safety Schools' Are Hard to Find

"When applying to colleges, students are commonly told to include a 'safety school' to ensure they are accepted to at least one institution. For low-income students, such as those who receive advising from college access programs like members of the National College Access Network, they also need a different type of a safety school: a financial one to which they are not only accepted but also are reasonably sure they can afford," Carrie Warick writes in an essay for Inside Higher Ed.

"As parents’ concerns about college costs surpass even their worries about having enough money for retirement, whether an affordable college option exists -- particularly for low-income students -- is a crucial question. To answer it, NCAN designed an affordability measure to see whether a low-income student can reasonably expect to successfully piece together all of the possible sources for funding a four-year degree in today’s public higher education system.

Why, specifically, a four-year degree? Because it’s the surest path to the middle class for low-income students and students of color. And why examine public institutions in particular? Because they were founded to serve all students in their state. Their missions are based on ensuring access. At the very least, low-income students need a single affordable college option.

But unfortunately, only 25 percent of public, four-year residential institutions are affordable for the average first-time, full-time Pell Grant recipient who is working in a minimum-wage job. This percentage plummets to approximately 10 percent when examining public flagship institutions."

NASFAA's "Headlines" section highlights media coverage of financial aid to help members stay up to date with the latest news. Inclusion in Today's News does not imply endorsement of the material or guarantee the accuracy of information presented.

 

Publication Date: 5/18/2018

View Desktop Version