Few College Campuses Putting Their Money Where Their Mouths Are

Jun 22, 2011

The advocacy group Education Trust recently released a study on the state of higher education for less privileged learners entitled 'Priced Out: How the Wrong Financial-Aid Policies Hurt Low-Income Students.' Though the report identifies a systematic crisis for cash-strapped students, it points out five schools that actually excel at helping their low-income charges gain access to education. What are those schools?

By Eric Garneau

college

Cal State Fullerton

Located in the bustling Orange County area of California, Cal State Fullertron prides itself on its affordability - but not at the expense of academics. The school encourages rigorous intellectual inquiry in its many undergraduate and graduate programs. According to U.S. News and World Report, business, marketing and management studies are by far the most popular among students there, making up 26% of the undergraduate degrees awarded.

Cal State Long Beach

Another California institution, CSULB (as it's known) calls itself a 'teaching-intensive, research-driven university.' Graduate-level students may especially be interested in the school; its website notes that it has the highest graduation rate and lowest time to graduation among all public schools with graduate-level programs in the West. They also strive to offer a diverse student body, which possibly explains why lower-income students have found such a home there.

Baruch College - CUNY

One might not expect to find an especially affordable school in the heart of Manhattan, but Baruch College defies that expectation. Their location gives students terrific opportunities for internships and networking. Baruch College hosts the Zicklin School of Business (largest in the nation), as well as the Mildred and George Weissman School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Public Affairs, which altogether offer almost 2,600 bachelor's degrees and 1,400 master's degrees.

Queens College - CUNY

Baruch College has to share the New York City spotlight with its brother from another borough, Queens College. Located in the more suburban area of New York City's easternmost region, Queens College states its mission as 'offering a first-rate education to talented people of all backgrounds and financial means.' That attitude has especially benefitted low-income students; U.S. News and World Report notes that 77.8% of full-time undergraduates receive need-based financial aid that averages $4,800 per student.

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

One of North Carolina's key institutions of higher education since 1891, UNC - Greensboro offers its students a massive, beautiful campus and close to 2,600 undergraduate degree options. They also do a fantastic job of responding to their students' financial needs; while their website reports that in-state tuition and fees total roughly $14,504, U.S. News and World Report tells us that in-state students end up paying an average of $4,520… that's almost $10,000 of subsidized tuition per student.

Berea College

Not actually one of the five schools listed by Education Trusts' report, Kentucky's Berea College defies cost calculation. The school's entire mission is to enroll and graduate low-income students across the board. They accomplish this with a campus-wide work-study program. All students contribute their abilities to campus labor, and all receive tuition, room and board and a cost-of-living stipend in return. Therefore, the school's cost can't be computed by traditional means, but it's a major institution to watch when it comes to educating low-income students.

How did Education Trust find these five schools, and what's wrong with all the other ones?


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