The latest crisis: Low-income students are dropping out of college this fall in alarming numbers

The latest crisis: Low-income students are dropping out of college this fall in alarming numbers

McConnell’s situation is playing out all over the country. As fall semester gets into full swing in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, schools are noticing a concerning trend: Low-income students are the most likely to drop out or not enroll at all, raising fears that they might never get a college degree. Some 100,000 fewer high school seniors completed financial aid applications to attend college this year, according to a National College Attainment Network analysis of Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) data through August. The lower enrollment figures are the latest sign of how the economic devastation unleashed by the coronavirus crisis has weighed more heavily on lower-income Americans and minorities, who have suffered higher levels of unemployment and a higher incidence of covid-19, the disease caused by the virus. Students from families with incomes under $75,000 are nearly twice as likely to say they “canceled all plans” to take classes this fall as students from families with incomes over $100,000, according to a U.S. Census survey in late August. Czar lost her job at an ice cream shop when it closed during the pandemic, leaving her without enough to pay rent. As her financial woes mounted, she ended up dropping out of her spring semester classes and moving in with a friend. She’s been interviewing for jobs, hoping to earn enough money to re-enroll, but she hasn’t landed anything yet. Among the reasons students are citing for not returning to school this fall: frustration ...
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