Friday, September 08, 2006
Tiny investments, big gaps
The editors of the Morning Journal get shrill on Ohio's failed higher education opportunities:
In fact, low-income students are being especially hard-hit because Ohio makes a tiny investment in need-based financial aid, in comparison with some other states.This is the legacy Bob Bennett and his peckerhead gang are really proud to be leaving behind. Tools.
According to the study, the cost of college tuition, room and board above and beyond what is paid by financial aid chews up 44 percent of the family income for low- and middle-class students in community colleges and 62 percent of family income for public four-year colleges and universities.
Young adults from high-income Ohio families are three times more likely to attend college than kids from low-income families. That's one of the widest gaps in any state. College has become much less affordable in Ohio since the early 1990s, the report said.
Another gap is racial. In Ohio, 37 percent of white young adults are in college compared to only 26 percent of nonwhite young adults age 18 to 24. That gap has widened considerably over time.
. . .
One of the most disturbing findings is that colleges are aiming their financial aid money at luring top-performing ''prestige'' students, rather than going by financial need. The study found that students from the wealthiest families are getting almost as much grant aid as students from the poorest families. That means, in the words of Education Trust Director Kati Haycock, ''Educational opportunity ... is taking a back seat to institutional prestige.''
Top-quality, affordable higher education is crucial to being able to retain Ohio's young people and to attract good new jobs. Right now, Ohio is losing too many jobs and too many of its young people, and not attracting enough new jobs and highly-skilled new residents.
This state will never recover from its economic decline unless its leaders find ways to make college truly affordable for anyone.