A report by the Education Trust says that financial-aid policies too often benefit affluent students who would go to college anyway, rather than helping those with the greatest financial need. And when it comes to the bottom line of paying for college (after grants and aid), low-income students pay a higher proportion of family income to attend than other students.
The study finds that the typical low-income student after exhausting all sources of grant aid must come up with more than $11,000 a year to attend a four-year public or private nonprofit college. That is equivalent to nearly 72 percent of students’ family income. In contrast, middle-class students must finance the equivalent of 27 percent of family income, and high-income students must pay just 14 percent.
A version of this article appeared in the June 15, 2011 edition of Education Week as Financial Aid