College Problem: Cost or Aid Education

I came across this article yesterday making the argument that the problem with college is not dropouts but costs. Although the article did not discuss it specifically, financial aid is an issue that most Hispanic college students confront when they consider the choice betwen a 4 year instituion or community college. It got me thinking about Hispanics and how they pay for college, and I came across these statistics via Sallie Mae that supported some of the article’s arguments:

A higher percentage of Hispanics (59%) indicated they eliminated institutions before even formally considering a school than whites (41%) or blacks (41%).

Hispanics who eliminated schools because of cost were also likely to consider other cost savings measures. For example, Hispanics were more likely than whites or blacks to consider living at home or attending a community college. Hispanics were more likely than whites to consider postponing college or attending part-time.

Hispanic parents most frequently cited affordability as the reason children drop out of college.

Many Hispanic families are not adequately planning for college prior to the end of high school. More than two thirds of Hispanic parents did not receive any financial aid information while their child was in K-12 and more than half (56 percent) of the young adults who were not attending college indicated that they had not received any financial aid information in K-12.

Hispanic families borrowed less frequently, but when they borrowed, they indicated it was critical to their ability to stay in college. Hispanic students were more likely to borrow than their parents, compared to the overall population.

Interesting and sobering facts when you consider that most of these challenges can be either overcome or reduced by educating more Hispanic high school and/or college students with the right information. I was no different early in my college career. I had no idea the amount of grants, student loan options, or work study programs available to me until AFTER I started college. It really made my first year in college harder than it should have been. Although I had saved enough to pay for school myself, many others do not have that option.