College too costly for low-income

Associated Press

A new study being released today on the skyrocketing cost of higher education says there are only five states where all the four-year public colleges are affordable for low-income students, and in many of those, the students still need to borrow money to get by.

In a third of all states, low-income students need loans even to attend some two-year community colleges, the study found.

Only in Alaska, Arkansas, Hawaii, Kentucky and Wyoming are all four-year public colleges affordable for low-income people, it said.

The findings of the year-old Lumina Foundation for Education have sparked sharp criticism from higher education groups.

The foundation rated nearly 3,000 colleges and universities, and said that while at least half the public four-year schools in 40 states are financially manageable for median-income students, those students often need loans.

Critics complained that the study flies in the face of reality: 15 million people from all income levels attend college at two- and four-year schools. They also charged that the study risks discouraging those who might benefit most from a college degree.

Lumina’s vice president for research, Jerry Davis, said the study focuses on the hardships imposed by paying for college.

"We’re saying students and families must make inordinate financial sacrifices to attend those schools," Davis said. The struggle to afford college leads some to quit, he said.

Davis said he had hoped that higher education officials would use the study to help secure more state and federal aid for students.

The study used 1998 federal statistics on income, enrollment and financial aid, among other factors. It looked at four income groups: low- and median-income students still dependent on parents’ income, and independent students ages 25-34 with low or median incomes.

Higher education groups said the study’s methods were flawed and could put people off the idea of college or certain institutions.

"Enrollments go up every single year," said Terry Hartle, vice president of the American Council on Education. "If this is correct, there are a lot of people in higher education that aren’t supposed to be there."

Hartle lauded Lumina’s effort but said it would reinforce mistaken assumptions. Surveys find the public tends to overestimate the cost of a college education, he said.

David Warren, head of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, said the report "misrepresents reality, misleads readers, and harms the very families the foundation is trying to help."

The topic of cost is "probably one of the touchiest policy issues in higher education right now," said Travis Reindl, state policy director at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities.

Still, Reindl said it was unfair for the study to label specific schools as "unaffordable."

The Lumina Foundation report released today calculated the percentage of public and private colleges (including two- and four-year schools) that cost too much for low-income students dependent on parental income. This lists states from highest cost to lowest cost.

Vermont: 86 percent

District of Columbia: 80 percent

New Hampshire: 74 percent

Massachusetts: 66 percent

Delaware: 62 percent

Rhode Island: 60 percent

Missouri: 51 percent

Michigan: 51 percent

Florida: 50 percent

Tennessee: 50 percent

Iowa: 49 percent

West Virginia: 48 percent

Ohio: 46 percent

Nebraska: 44 percent

Pennsylvania: 44 percent

Nevada: 43 percent

South Dakota: 42 percent

Maine: 39 percent

New York: 38 percent

Kansas: 35 percent

Montana: 35 percent

South Carolina: 35 percent

Kentucky: 33 percent

Wisconsin: 32 percent

Illinois: 31 percent

OREGON: 31 percent

Virginia: 31 percent

Indiana: 30 percent

North Carolina: 29 percent

Utah: 27 percent

New Jersey: 26 percent

Alabama: 25 percent

Maryland: 24 percent

Oklahoma: 24 percent

Colorado: 23 percent

Hawaii: 23 percent

Minnesota: 23 percent

California: 22 percent

Georgia: 22 percent

Idaho: 22 percent

Connecticut: 21 percent

North Dakota: 21 percent

Alaska: 20 percent

Texas: 19 percent

Arizona: 17 percent

Mississippi: 17 percent

Louisiana: 14 percent

New Mexico: 14 percent

WASHINGTON: 14 percent

Arkansas: 13 percent

Wyoming: 0 percent (all schools affordable)

Copyright ©2002 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

A Cessna 150 crashed north of Paine Field on Friday evening, Feb. 16, 2024, in Mukilteo, Washington. The pilot survived without serious injury. (Courtesy of Richard Newman.)
‘I’m stuck in the trees’: 911 call recounts plane crash near Paine Field

Asad Ali was coming in for a landing in a Cessna 150 when he crashed into woods south of Mukilteo. Then he called 911 — for 48 minutes.

Everett
Snohomish County likely to feel more like winter, beginning Monday

Get ready for a mix of rain and snow this week, along with cooler temperatures.

Anthony Boggess
Arlington man sentenced for killing roommate who offered shelter

Anthony Boggess, 33, reported hearing the voices of “demons” the night he strangled James Thrower, 65.

Everett Housing Authority is asking for city approval for it’s proposed development of 16 acres of land currently occupied by the vacant Baker Heights public housing development on Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2022 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
North Everett housing project plan gets taller with 15-story buildings

The original plans for the Park District called for 12-story apartments. Another public hearing is set for March 5.

Mt. Pilchuck covered in snow is barely visible through the clouds as the sun breaks through illuminating raindrops as they fall off of the Mountain Loop Highway on Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2024 in Granite Falls, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
‘Active’ weather brings rain, snow, hail, fresh powder to Snohomish County

Up to an inch of snow could accumulate in the lowlands. Three inches of rain could fall in Darrington. And Stevens Pass is “doing quite well.”

Cousins Penny Leslie and Sidney Baker work together on a mural inside a jail cell at the Mukilteo Police Department on Sunday, Feb. 18, 2024, in Mukilteo, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
No more staring at blank canvas in Mukilteo police holding cells

Bright murals now adorn the walls. The artwork is intended to calm and relax detainees.

Joanne Fisher, right, a meat wrapper with the Marysville Albertsons, hands a leaflet to a shopper during an informational campaign on  Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2022. Fisher was one of about a dozen grocery store workers handing out leaflets to shoppers about the proposed merger between Albertsons and Kroger. (Mike Henneke / The Herald)
US sues to block merger of grocery giants Kroger, Albertsons

Grocery workers in Snohomish County and elsewhere have argued the merger would stymie competition and hurt workers.

The Senate Ways and Means Committee during its meeting on Monday, Feb. 26, 2024, where the panel indicated it would not move ahead with legislation to cap residential rent increases at 7%. The move effectively killed the bill for the 2024 legislative session. (Bill Lucia/Washington State Standard)
Plan for 7% statewide cap on rent increases fails in Olympia

State Sen. June Robinson, D-Everett, told reporters the bill did not have enough support to move it forward.

People look out onto Mountain Loop Mine from the second floor hallway of Fairmount Elementary on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Mining company ordered to stop work next to school south of Everett

After operating months without the right paperwork, OMA Construction applied for permits last week. The county found it still violates code.

Shoppers cross Alderwood Mall Parkway after leaving the mall and walking through its parking lot on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2024, in Lynnwood, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Lynnwood police seek 3 suspects after pursuit, brief shootout

The driver of a stolen car intentionally hit a teen boy Sunday, officers said. Police pursued the suspects near I-5.

Starbucks employee Zach Gabelein outside of the Mill Creek location where he works on Friday, Feb. 23, 2024 in Mill Creek, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
‘We cannot keep up’: Mill Creek Starbucks workers file for unionization

The cafe’s crew joins the ranks of the 624 stores nationwide, including two other locations in Snohomish County.

The Nimbus Apartments are pictured on Wednesday, March 1, 2023, in downtown Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Snohomish County has the highest rent in the state. Could this bill help?

In one year, rent for the average two-bedroom apartment in Snohomish County went up 20%. A bill seeks to cap any increases at 7%.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.