Fewer low- and moderate-income high school graduates are attending college in America, and fewer are graduating.
Enrollment in four-year colleges was 40% in 2004 for low-income students, down from 54% in 1992, and 53% in 2004 for moderate-income students, down from 59% over the same period, according to a report recently submitted to Congress by the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance.
If that trend has continued, low- and moderate-income students who don't move on to college face an even darker outlook. The unemployment rate for 16- to 19-year olds averaged 17% in 2004, the jobless rate for people over age 25 with just a high school diploma averaged 5% the same year. So far this year, those figures have jumped to 25.8% and 10.6%, respectively.
College expenses and financial aid have become increasingly larger considerations for parents and students, driving more qualified students away from enrolling in four-year colleges.
Persistence through four-year colleges dropped to 75% in students entering in 2003 for low-income students, down from 78% in students entering in 1995, while persistence for students from moderate-income families remained at 81%. Persistence rates for low- and moderate-income students in two-year colleges, however, fell 10 percentage points to 49% over the same period.
Source: Wall Street Journal