With Access to Higher Education, Can Students from Low Income Families Succeed?

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One of the most important topics to be debated in the upcoming election season will be the growing inequality gap. The divide between rich and poor goes deeper than just income. Opportunities and, most critically, access to education make overcoming this divide even more difficult. But what about students from lower income families with access to higher education and what are their chances of graduating?

Susan M. Dynarski’s article in the June 2nd edition of the New York Times spells this out in no uncertain terms. Her article, “For the Poor, the Graduation Gap is Even Wider Than the Enrollment Gap,” sites results from a recent study by the National Center for Education Statistics entitled “Education Longitudinal Study.” The study followed a group of 15,000 high school sophomores from graduation to enrollment in college and beyond. Divided into four equal-sized groups ranging from those students whose parents had the lowest income and education to those who had the highest, the study, which spanned thirteen years, showed only 14 percent of those students from the lowest quartile earning a bachelor’s degree compared with a completion rate of 60 percent of students from the highest quartile. Dynarski examines the test scores of the students entering college to show how even advantaged students with low scores are able to succeed while students who come from low income households with high scores on standardized test still fail to graduate.

To read the full article and find links to the study click here.

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