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September 3, Staff Writers. Low income students face unique financial challenges in college which can make higher education seem out of reach. However, many programs exist to help these students succeed and budget for their education. Learn how universities are supporting low income students and find out more about the opportunities available on- and off-campus.
Getting a college degree increases chances of finding employment. Inthe unemployment rate for a high school graduate was 6. The hourly pay discrepancy between those with a college degree and those with a high school diploma has steadily increased over the past 40 years.
Felice Rollins discusses the challenges faced and success achieved by low income students. Besides money, the largest hurdle that low-income college students face is an overall lack of resources. Low-income students are unlikely to have personal or professional mentors to guide them through the challenges of higher education. They are also less likely to have family support for choosing the right college, completing financial aid forms, or even regular visits once they get to school.
To increase their chances of success, low-income students can actively seek out mentors among their professors, academic advisors, and dormitory staff. Finding someone who has experienced the same challenges can help students become more comfortable in the college environment. The best resources for low-income students are college-based programs deed to increased persistence for under-served students.
One example is Student Support Services, a U. Department of Education program that provides academic advising, tutoring, and financial assistance for low-income, first-generation and homeless college students. Many colleges are starting to use the "intrusive advising" model that assumes that many students, especially those from low-income families, will need proactive strategies to solve issues instead of waiting for students to seek assistance. Low-income students are often shy about sharing their challenges with others.
Since they are unlikely to have family members or friends from home that can help guide them, it is crucial that they seek out guidance from others that can act as an extended family while they are in school. The benefits of attending college as a way to increase economic success are clear. However, hurdles still remain that make it difficult for lower income individuals to get into college at all. Here are some of those issues, and how low-income students can overcome them. Many students do not prepare ahead of time for the college entrance exams; this means lower scores on standardized tests such as the SAT or ACT which in turn makes it harder to get accepted into college.
Even if accepted into college, a lower score decreases the chances of receiving merit-based financial aid. College acceptance and merit-based student financial aid are substantially dependent on academic performance. Low-income students have increased the difficulty in getting this extra help. Even if students can stay after school to receive extra help with their school work from teachers, there may be transportation issues. Some solutions include providing academic resources to students to help them study on their own, such as free books or computer resources. If schools do not explicitly offer free help, students can still ask for it from their teachers and guidance counselors, who will more than likely be able to oblige.
The price of a four-year degree has steadily risen over recent years. Some colleges are trying to alleviate this issue by offering free or reduced tuition, as well as capping the amount of loans students are required to take on. There are also need and merit-based scholarships to help pay for college. Students have the option of working while in college to help raise funds to pay for tuition. When applying to several schools, these fees can really add up.
Low-income students may not apply to certain schools or as many because of them. Low income students have several ways around college application fees. Some colleges waive the application fee recommendation, make an in-person visit to the college, or have exceptional academic credentials. Many colleges also waive application fees to students who demonstrate financial need. Even after ing for student ability, many low-income students do not attend college compared to their higher income peers.
Some students are simply not encouraged or pushed to attend college, and they are not surrounded by resources that make college applications a priority. Figuring out the college application and enrollment process can be daunting, but as long as the student has the desire and will to attend, they can take the lead in the process. Talking to teachers, guidance counselors and other high school peers who intend to enroll in college after graduating high school can provide a lot of information and motivation to attend college.
Here are some of the barriers that might lead to even the most dedicated student dropping out of college. For low-income students, small disruptions in life can have more serious consequences. For example, having a car break down can immediately derail college attendance.
Some non-traditional students have children to consider. The lack of childcare options can be a serious impediment to completing a degree, especially for students who take classes on campus and not online.
One of the reasons for this is that first generation college students have to balance college and non-college life. Many schools have a limited amount of financial aid to give out to students, with a first-come-first-served policy. Students who submit financial aid information late may have little or no money available to them. Many low income students may feel a stronger than normal pressure to succeed in college.
This pressure can stem from the student knowing they have to do well to get a high paying job to help support their family; the pressure of being the first in the family to graduate from college can also be quite strong. While a student may have the ambition, they may not be prepared for the academic rigors of college. The state of unpreparedness can be caused by ineffective high school classes or a lack of guidance.
Low-income students are also more likely to have to work while attending college. Being able to balance this third obligation in addition to classwork and social life can make succeeding in college more difficult. Due to financial constraints, a low income student may know that they have to graduate in four years or less because they simply cannot afford to attend college any longer. They may also choose a major that gives them the best chance of landing a higher paying job after graduation.
When these goals do not align with what the student really wants to do, it can lead to poorer academic performance, which in turn can increase the chances of dropping out. Colleges are stepping up to help low income students find the success they deserve in higher education.
These seasoned advisors can answer questions about college academic life, including how to choose a major, course lo and career recommendations. Faculty advisors usually meet with students individually during their freshman year in order to make sure they are on track to graduate on time and take a major of their choice. The faculty advisors can also direct the student to further assistance on non-academic issues. Iowa Lakes Community College offers a great example with Success Center, which provides online, interactive services to students to help them accomplish their academic goals.
Specifically, the Success Center offers students two interactive online programs: one program is geared toward students who have scored low on their reading, writing and math concepts. The other is specifically tailored to offering additional lessons in basic math.
The program accomplishes this goal by offering no additional tuition costs to students who take more than 12 credit hours in a semester. The program also provides advice, tips and general guidance to ensure students stay on track with their degree. Whether offered online or through in-person consultation, many schools allow students to check on the progress of their degree.
Students can make sure they have enough credits to graduate, have taken the right classes to obtain their desired major, or have taken all of the core courses a college may require of all students as a condition of graduation. These unique programs provide low income students an opportunity to attend a top-notch school. Berea College is a good example; through a mix of financial aid and work study programs, there is no cost to attend the college. However, students must demonstrate an exceptional academic history. Federally funded programs offered at many colleges and universities provide additional assistance to students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Examples of assistance include individualized counseling and advising, academic tutoring, additional financial aid and priority class registration. With intrusive advising, advisors take the first step to interact with students. Intrusive advising might be triggered by missed classes or appointments.
Offered by Georgia State University, the Success Academy is an invitation-only program that provides extra learning opportunities and support to new students. Success Academy is intended to help students transition from high school and home life to college life. Tailored for disadvantaged students, PASS offers a of services and programs to promote degree completion and academic success.
Services offered include career development, academic tutoring, financial aid and a pre-class summer program for incoming students. Entering college can be intimidating for anyone. Being overly self-conscious is compounded with the added stress and pressure of succeeding in school and being able to meet financial obligations. The below list of resources are tailored to low income college students. Every college and university with on campus housing options has an office of student housing. The office of student housing manages all of the dorms and apartments available to students.
They will also have information about off campus options and resources available for students who are under financial distress. Many municipalities, both large and small, have temporary residence facilities to assist those who need temporary housing. Availability is usually limited and residential services are usually temporary, but community shelters can provide a stop-gap resource for students who need a place to live until a more permanent option can be found. HUD offers public housing, Section 8 housing, and privately owned subsidized housing to qualified individuals, including students.
A family member or friend who lives near the school might provide a temporary or permanent place to live. Students might also be able to get help with transportation to and from school while living with a family or friend, such as carpooling and ride-share programs. Single Stop USA provides comprehensive services for low income individuals and families, including working with students from community colleges to meet their housing needs. This website provides a consolidated location for resources available to individuals and families who are low income.
The site provides online listing for affordable housing options, whether the apartment simply has low rent or accepts Section 8 vouchers and everything in between. The service is free and anyone can up. The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development provides federal housing assistance, but HUD also has a list of state and local government housing resources for those who need rental assistance. This website assists college students with finding the right apartment. Apartments are searchable based on where the college is located.
It also factors in preferences based on privacy, room layout, amenities and distance to campus in helping students find the best apartment. A select few universities run food banks. There are also toiletries and clothing available for those who need them.
Some schools, such as Columbia University, allow students who have left over cafeteria plan meals to donate them to students who are hungry. By utilizing an app, students with extra meal plans can be matched with students who need the meals. The specific department or office that coordinates and compiles a list of resources can vary, but each school will have information regarding food assistance available to students.
Information can include contact and location information of local food banks as well as charity organizations that can help. Most communities have a food pantry or soup kitchen where recipients can receive free or reduced cost food.
They can help save low income students a little more on occasion and assist in making ends meet in the long run. Some food pantries also offer gently used clothing as well as toiletries. Formerly referred to as food stamps, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program allows qualified individuals and families to buy groceries from participating food stores. Typically, students are excluded from participating in SNAP, but certain non-traditional or low income students are still eligible.
Realizing how much food was being wasted by all-you-can-eat buffet style college cafeterias, students found a way to take the leftover food and make it available to individuals in need. The Campus Kitchens Project provides many food related services including food recovery, cooking and meal delivery. From affordable housing to free stuff to how to volunteer, the Homeless Shelter Directory has a wealth of information.
One specific directory is a list of emergency food resources based on location.College student needing help
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College Guide For Low Income Students