A report released today by The Education Trust documents how the financial-aid policies of colleges, universities, states, and the federal government together limit — rather than expand — access to higher education for millions of low-income young people.
Data on the “net price” of college — that is the amount that families must pay after all sources of grant aid are accounted for — for every college and university in the country, were recently released for the first time by the U.S. Department of Education. "Priced Out: How the Wrong Financial-Aid Policies Hurt Low-Income Students" uncovers a new and disheartening picture of college opportunity for low-income students. The Ed Trust analysis reveals that the average low-income family must pay or borrow an amount roughly equivalent to 72 percent of its annual household income each year — just to send one child to a four-year college.
Information is one of the most important tools in the fight for equity and high achievement for all, but confusion about a federal law designed to protect student privacy has unnecessarily halted the flow of critical information.
On Capitol Hill, the House Education and Workforce Committee is about to mark up the first in a series of bills designed to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The bill on the table will be the Setting New Priorities in Education Spending Act (H.R. 1891), sponsored by Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), which eliminates 43 existing education programs. That’s it. That’s all it does. Yes, times are tough and money is tight, but America’s children deserve more.
On May 25, the U.S. Senate rejected the House of Representative’s fiscal year 2012 budget proposal. The vote was 40-57. The defeat, largely the result of the public uproar over the Medicare provisions contained in the House’s budget, saved the Pell Grant program, at least for the moment.
However, public concern about Medicare cannot protect Pell forever. In fact, the budget-cutting fervor that’s seized Capitol Hill, combined with the political pressure on members of Congress to protect Medicare, will force them to seek cuts in other places. That makes other critical programs like Pell Grants extremely vulnerable.
A new report from the Brookings Institution casts doubt on the effectiveness of efforts to reduce class size around the country. Analysts sifted through research on class-size reduction and reached a definitive conclusion: To have a meaningful effect on student outcomes, class size must drop by seven to 10 students, must occur in lower grades, and must target a specific population of students. National moves to cut class size — though costly — have typically done none of these, instead making small, across-the-board reductions.
In a statement marking the 57th anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling on Brown v. Board of Education, Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the House Education and the Workforce Committee, pointed to both progress and obstacles on the road toward equity.
“Our federal education laws are rooted in the effort to uphold this promise, but, sadly, education inequalities still exist on many levels in this country,” Miller said in his statement. “They exist when children in the poorest schools are denied access to great teachers and they exist when school districts allow dropout factories to fail our students.”
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce recently outlined its priorities for the pending reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). As a leading voice for the nation’s business community, the Chamber maintains that the success of the economy depends on every student graduating ready for college and the workforce.