The Existing Opportunity Gap For Low-income Students In American Universities

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The situation in higher education for low-income students in American Universities is appalling. A recent report by The Education Trust churned out figures such as:


  • Across the country, 1,186 four-year colleges and universities in America have comparable data on what low-income students actually pay to attend college. Of these, only five meet relatively conservative criteria for affordability, quality, and accessibility.
  • After exhausting all sources of grant aid, the typical low-income student must come up with more than $1,000 a year to attend a public or private nonprofit college.
  • Every year, this extraordinary financial burden requires low-income families to pay or borrow an amount equivalent to nearly three-quarters of their family income for just one child to attend a four-year college. In contrast, middle-class students must finance the equivalent of 27 percent of their family income to go to college, while high-income students must finance just 14 percent.


It is a shocking situation, and one that further illuminates the financial barriers to higher education that disadvantaged bright minds face. These figures only strengthen the importance of UoPeople’s mission to democratize higher education. We believe that by opening the gates to higher education access, family income won’t dictate success; only an individual’s ability and motivation will. Our hope is that we can serve as a model for traditional universities, as well as governments, in order to further open the gates for low-income students worldwide.


What do you think can further assist in minimizing the opportunity gap for low-income students?