Real-World Trends Clash With Promises Made At White House Summit

Career College Central summary:

  • A White House push to increase the college-going rates of of low-income students flies in the face of real-world trends that are heading in exactly the opposite direction—including institutional and federal financial-aid and tax policy that has been shifting in favor of high-income and not low-income families.
  • Students from the poorest families are less than half as likely as those from the wealthiest to get bachelor’s degrees by the time they’re 25, a statistic cited by the Obama administration as a reason 140 heads of universities, foundations, and advocacy groups were invited to the White House to unveil new ideas they promised would increase the number of low-income students who enroll in college and the rate at which they graduate.
  • It’s not only college financial aid that has been moving to higher-income rather than lower-income students. So have federal tax breaks, including the American Opportunity Tax Credit, which Obama signed into law. These include connecting low-income students with colleges that are the best fit for them and waiving the application fees, providing more scholarships for them in science- and technology-related fields, working with primary and secondary schools to better prepare them for college while improving remedial education that often derails them once they arrive there, and connecting them with adult mentors and advisors.
  • All of these things have been proven in pilot programs to increase the college-going and success rates of students from the nation’s poorest families. One essential incentive to get students to go to college, however—money, in the form of financial aid—has been slowly shifting to wealthier families, not low-income ones, because of university interests that conflict with those White House goals.

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