Monthly Archives: June 2011

Reality Bites: Demographics, College Aid & the Reality of Access

A couple of reports that provide some insight about perceptions and realities in regards to Latinos and other U.S. demographic groups. The first report is from Ninth Allstate-National Journal Heartland Monitor Poll which examined Americans’ views of economic opportunity in a time of demographic transformation.  A lot of juicy tidbits that reflect distinct demographic perspectives in the United States. According to Allstate news which help sponsor the poll:

The results also show that Americans of all backgrounds believe that economic divides between rich and poor are the most significant contributor to disagreements on important issues – a greater wedge than ethnic, racial, or cultural divides.

Cue the reality report! Indeed, when it comes to providing opportunity to an affordable education, low-income students still face a significant challenge. According to a report by the Education Trust, the vast majority of colleges and universities are still, at least financially, out of the reach for those that need it the most:

Nationwide, nearly 1,200 four-year colleges and universities have comparable data on what low-income students pay for college. Of these, only five institutions demonstrate success in three key areas:

 • They enroll a proportion of low-income students that is at least as high as the national average.   • They ask these students to pay a portion of their family income no greater than what the average middle-income student pays for a bachelor’s degree.  • They offer all students at least a 1-in-2 chance at graduation.

It is noteworthy that none of the highly profitable, for profit college companies, well-endowed public flagships, or private nonprofits appears among this list of five. Moreover, many of the public flagships and private non-profit institutions that do manage to keep costs relatively low for students of modest means enroll far too few of these students. The data in this study show that, increasingly, financial aid policy choices—at the national, state and institution levels—benefit affluent students more than those exhibiting the greatest financial need.

Someone Who Gets It….

Sara Goldstein has fast become one of my favorite bloggers when it comes to educational reform and minorities. She “gets it” in her latest piece regarding internships for credit:

There are loads of problems with the majority of current internship-for-credit schemes. First, they are largely confined to four-year colleges and universities, and so exclude the neediest young Americans, those who don’t proceed beyond high school or community college. Second, colleges often require classroom hours in addition to on-the-job time in order for a student to earn credit for an internship, which makes it difficult for the student to work a paying job simultaneously, further limiting access for less-affluent kids.

Not to Be Deterred

Always nice to come across an article that illustrates the innate Latino characteristic of overcoming barriers – regardless of who puts them up. Read this story. When it comes to education, sometimes it’s the people that are supposed to help who glady provide the roadblocks.  

She was also concerned because Isaac’s counselor had declined to write a letter of recommendation – because he wasn’t in the top 10 percent of his class — for his ABC application. But instead of being welcomed, Florencia says the school principal and counselor were dismissive during a school visit last September.

When you have a moment, also check out A Better Chance (ABC), the organization helping Latino high schoolers succeed.