The problem - and why it matters
In 2010, 400,000 low-income high school students graduated ready to attend four-year colleges - but never enrolled. Half that number will attend no higher education at all. Strive for College is changing that.
Many of those who do attend college undermatch - they attend colleges and universities which are not an appropriate fit academically or financially because they lack the resources to navigate the intimidating process of applying for college admission and financial aid.
Just three percent of students at the nation’s top 146 colleges are drawn from the lowest income quartile, while the top half of the income distribution contributes 90 percent of students at top colleges. Even many of the highest-achieving students in lower income quartiles do not know that they can go to college, or pay for it. While two-thirds of students from the top income quartile enroll in a four-year college, only one-ﬁfth of students from the bottom income quartile do so. Private school counselors spend roughly twice as much time as public school counselors giving college advice. In addition, the number of registered private college consultants, who cater mostly to the wealthy, has doubled in the past two years. 22% of students at private colleges have used admissions consulting. These students will pay about $1200 for 6 hours of private admissions consulting.
The simple truth is that America’s college population draws disproportionately from wealthier families, leaving behind even the best students from lower income groups.
Nor are students from low-income families the only losers in the nation’s inequitable system of college application and finance. The American economy is increasingly dependent on highly skilled, college-educated workers. America needs the future leaders and innovators, entrepreneurs and inventors, scientists and engineers, public servants and politicians, doctors and lawyers who are now failing to develop simply because disadvantaged students lack the knowledge or the resources to enroll in and pay for four-year colleges and universities.
Low-income students across the country suffer from the following problems:
• Low expectations of students from friends, family community, and even their schools
• Lack of information about the college admissions process
• Lack of information about paying for college and financial aid
Additionally, on a national level, the following problems exist:• High schools do not have the resources available to provide their students with sufficient time and information about college and the application process
• Because of this lack of resources, over 400,000 low-income students, who are college eligible, are not enrolling in four-year colleges each year
• Due to a lack of information about these students, colleges cannot effectively encourage them to apply and enroll at their institutions.