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ERIC Number: ED512174
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Jun
Pages: 73
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 60
The Rising Price of Inequality: How Inadequate Grant Aid Limits College Access and Persistence. Report to Congress and the Secretary of Education
Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance
Congress charged the Advisory Committee in the "Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008" with monitoring and reporting on the condition of college access and persistence for low- and moderate-income students. The law requires provision of analyses and policy recommendations regarding the adequacy of grant aid from all sources--federal, state, and institutional--and the postsecondary enrollment and graduation rates of these students. This report seeks to fulfill that mandate by providing insights drawn from the invaluable longitudinal studies conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)--critical data that track the experiences of high school graduates through college. Adequacy of grant aid from all sources is assessed by examining the enrollment and persistence rates of low- and moderate-income high school graduates who seek to earn a bachelor's degree and are qualified to gain admission to a 4-year college, relative to the rates of their middle- and high-income peers. Over time, prices net of total grant aid at 4-year public colleges have risen as a percentage of family income for these students, leading to a cascade of negative effects: (1) Large-scale mismatches exist and are growing between the aspirations and qualifications of these high school graduates and where they are able financially to enroll in college; (2) Triggered by increasing family financial concerns about college expenses and financial aid, these mismatches are shifting initial enrollment of qualified students away from 4-year colleges; (3) Shifts in initial enrollment are consequential because where qualified high school graduates are able to start college (access) largely determines their likelihood of success (persistence); and (4) Exacerbating the negative impact of enrollment shifts, persistence rates today appear to be lower, especially for qualified high school graduates who are unable financially to start at a 4-year college. These trends greatly undermined bachelor's degree completion of high school graduates over the last two decades and, if unchecked, will take an even greater toll this decade. These findings are persuasive evidence that grant aid from all sources is not adequate to ensure access and persistence of qualified low- and moderate-income high school graduates. A summary of specific data findings and recommendations is contained in exhibit 1. Appendices include: (1) Income Ranges by Year; (2) Net Prices (Family Work and Load Burden) at Public Colleges as a Percentage of Family Income; (3) Parent Financial Concerns and Enrollment Behavior/Student Financial Concerns and Enrollment Behavior; (4) Family Financial Concerns and Enrollment Behavior/Impact of Parent Financial Concerns on Enrollment Behavior; (5) Impact of Student Financial Concerns on Enrollment Behavior/Impact of Family Financial Concerns on Enrollment Behavior; (6) Impact of Parent Financial Concerns Enrollment Behavior/Impact of Student Financial Concerns on Enrollment Behavior; (7) Impact of Family Financial Concerns on Enrollment Behavior; (8) Advisory Committee Members; and (9) Authorizing Legislation. (Contains 26 tables, 29 figures, 6 exhibits, and 51 endnotes.)
Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance. 80 F Street NW Suite 413, Washington, DC 20202-7582. Tel: 202-219-2099; Fax: 202-219-3032; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance