Recommendations for Increasing Educational Opportunities for the Working Poor

Many young African Americans attend college part time and work to help support their families and to pay for tuition and other costs associated with higher education. In addition, many older African Americans go to college part time to learn a new skill or to better their qualifications for work while they continue their employment.  

A new report from the Institute for Higher Education Policy finds that only 54 percent of low-income, part-time college students receive some type of financial aid grant. The average low-income, part-time college student was left with college expenses of $4,000 which they had to pay from savings, or they had to incur debt. As a result, college dropout rates for this group, of which blacks are a disproportionate percent, are very high.

The Institute for Higher Education Policy report offers a number of recommendations including:  

• Giving education tax credits for low-income students who pay for their own college education;

• Increasing federal, state, and institutional grant aid for part-time students;

• Having enrollment in higher education meet work requirements for single mothers who are on welfare; and

• Increasing the income limit for qualifying for the $0 expected family contribution in the federal family need analysis formula. The full report may be obtained by clicking here.