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.