Financial concerns cause nearly 3 million students to drop out of college each year.
Researchers at Tyton Partners believe a student-centered approach to financial aid could help reduce those numbers. In a recent report, the Boston-based advising firm chronicled the challenges posed by the current system and examined potential solutions through a survey of more than 1,800 higher ed administrators.
Their take? Targeted communication could help improve the process for both students and colleges.
“According to administrators, the biggest challenges preventing students from accessing aid are lack of student engagement, lack of awareness, and insufficient financial aid,” the report notes. “All three of these issues are addressable through improved communication between the institution and the student.”
Women hold more student debt and take longer than men to pay it off, according to a recent report from the American Association of University Women.
“It’s encouraging that women are enrolling in college more than ever before, but at the same time they are taking on larger amounts of debt to pay for their dreams,” AAUW researcher Kevin Miller said in a press release. “Because of factors like the gender pay gap, debt that could be manageable ends up becoming unmanageable, particularly for women.”
Women now earn 57 percent of all bachelor’s degrees awarded by US colleges, but hold almost two-thirds of the country’s $1.3 trillion student debt.
Nine percent of all international students in the US, or 95,000, were enrolled at community colleges in 2015-16, according to the Institute of International Education’s Open Doors report.
National data on the proportion of international students that start at community colleges upon initial entry to the US, versus those who start at a four-year college and then transfer to a community college, is currently unavailable. However, it’s clear from preliminary research that similar to domestic transfer students, international students reverse transfer from four-year colleges to community colleges, concurrently enroll in both, and swirl back and forth between the two.
The finding is illuminating, particularly when paired with supporting national survey data that suggests today’s middle and high school students view college — and careers — in a markedly different manner than millennials.
“More than 40 percent of Gen Z respondents seek careers that suit their specific interests, and tend to envision careers in technology, such as computer science and video game development,” according to report.
How do students interpret the value of for-profit colleges?
You may be surprised. Tressie McMillan Cottom — author of Lower Ed — certainly was.
While the high cost of attending for-profit schools automatically triggers concerns about debt and default for many college counselors, price is often viewed in an entirely different light by students.
“I was stunned to learn that students used high price to indicate institutional quality,” she tweeted during a Monday #NACACreads discussion of her book. “That alone subverts almost everything we know!”
Author Tressie McMillan Cottom will participate in the hour-long discussion, and there will be plenty of opportunities for you to share your own thoughts about the book, as well as for-profit colleges.