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Fewer Lower-Income Students Graduate College

June 4, 2015
Plain English Version

Group of Diverse International Students Celebrating Graduation

Life is not easy when you have very little money. Poverty is not just about money. It is about all the other advantages that better-off families can give to their children.

A new study looked at rich and poor children who had equal skills in math and reading. The study found that children of poor families who go to college have lower graduation rates than the children of families with more money.

It seems clear that money still counts. What is it about money that makes the difference?

The culture of affluence is a factor in the expectations of youngsters and parents. It is a great thing to be the first college student from a poorer family. Parents and students feel pride in their success stories.

Students from poorer families, however, may have to work while in college. They may be losing ground to those students with more time and resources to hone their academic skills.

The study shows that by the time they are age 25 about one out of three of the poorer college students graduate. About two out of three of the richer students graduate by that age.

The gap between going to college and finishing college is growing larger. That is bad news. In this economy, success comes by graduating from college, not just attending college.

One observer noted that smaller liberal arts colleges nurture their students. Kids are more likely to get lost in big colleges. A suggestion for further research is to look at the outcomes from smaller and larger colleges.

Source: The New York Times June 2, 2015

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