Grants and scholarships haven’t kept pace with rising living costs for low-income students at California community colleges and the second-tier California State University system, according to the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC).
Students who receive grants and scholarships are more likely to complete a degree, the report finds.
At the community colleges and CSU — the public colleges attended by the bulk of the state’s low-income students — increases in total student costs exceeded increases in grant aid between the 2008-09 school year and 2011-12. As a result, the actual cost to students rose by 6 percent, when adjusted for inflation. In dollars, these increases were significant, totaling more than $600 at the community colleges and almost $1,000 at CSU. The news is better at UC, with virtually no change in actual cost. In comparison, prices declined by almost $1,000 at private nonprofit colleges
. . . Prices dropped more sharply at private for-profit institutions, which may reflect declining enrollment as many have faced scrutiny for low completion rates and high loan default rates.
Making College Possible for Low-Income Students recommends helping students complete financial aid forms, increasing grants to keep pace with inflation and adopting policies to ensure aid doesn’t encourage colleges to raise tuition.