The Department of Education has?issued a report highlighting both private and public universities that are performing well?when it comes to enrolling and graduating students who qualify for federal Pell grants.
Students who be eligible for a Pell grants account for 40% of the population of schools checked out for the study, with 50% of the students?graduating within six years.
\”Although the percentage of 23-year-olds with a few college experience has increased considerably, their likelihood of graduating strongly correlates to income or racial background, meaning we must shift our attention toward the greater essential metric of success: degree attainment,\” Education Secretary John B. King Jr. said in prepared remarks.
According to the report, regional public universities such as the University of California at Irvine, private religious colleges, and women’s colleges all were found to hold the best track records when it comes to serving low-income students. ?The authors say such schools stand out above the rest because of the effort they invest in helping these students improve their outcomes through any number of means, including offering emergency financial aid and increasing academic advisement and mentoring services.
The report also suggests work needs to be done to improve the graduation gap that currently exists between poor and wealthy students. ?Typically, 51% of Pell grant students finish college, in comparison with 65% of their more affluent peers who don\’t qualify for Pell grants, writes Annie Waldman for ProPublica.
Although graduation rates for college students eligible for Pell grants are typically lower at public schools compared to what they are at private institutions, state schools tend to enroll higher amounts of low-income students and therefore are able to keep costs lower. ?Regardless of this, many schools that enroll a higher volume of low-income students do not end up graduating them at the same rate because the general student population.
The department is creating a push for more institutions, particularly those with the savings, to enroll higher amounts of low-income students and also to make much more of an effort to make sure they graduate. ?Danielle Douglas-Gabriel writes for?The Washington Post?that although selective schools hold a few of the highest rates when it comes to graduation and post-college employment, they are also the schools which enroll the least amount of low-income students.
The report noted a number of schools across the nation that?are presently working toward enroll higher amounts of low-income students and will be offering them enough financial aid so that they are able to graduate. ?For example, only one-fifth from the entire Amherst College student population in Massachusetts are thought to be low-income, but 94% of this group graduate within six years while paying a typical rate of $3,739 per year to attend. ?The authors praised the school for using its money to draw in and retain low-income students rather than putting it toward building upgrades.
\”Many universites and colleges have taken important steps to make college a reality for low income students, but unfortunately today those success stories are the exceptionCthey medicine rule,\” said King. \”There are too many barriers preventing far too many low income students from signing up for and graduating from college.\”