Low-income college students pay less
New data from the National Center for Education Statistics shows that the actual amount paid by low-income students is significantly lower than the average paid by students overall. The total cost of attendance, which includes tuition, fees, room and board, minus grants and scholarships, averaged about $23,500 for students attending Minnesota Private College Council (MPCC) member institutions in 2009-10. For students with family incomes below $30,000, the amount was about $14,350. This lower amount is due to State Grant awards, Pell Grants, institutional grants and scholarships.
As the chart below shows, Minnesota families earning less than $30,000 are paying less for a bachelor's degree than the average family at all types of institutions. Efforts like these to support college enrollment of low-income students are important to these students — and all Minnesotans. For more information, review the research brief, "Economic Diversity: Why Enrollment of Lower-Income Students Matters."
For low-income students, what they pay matters, but what they get in return is also important. A recent Education Trust report correlates the amount paid by low-income students with four-year graduation rates. Graduating on time means that students limit their tuition outlay and enter the workforce sooner than students who take longer to graduate. In Minnesota, low-income students may pay higher net tuition at nonprofit colleges than at public institutions, but their chances of graduating in four years and starting their career are much higher.
Of students attending MPCC institutions, 65% graduate in four years. At public institutions the four-year graduation rate is 40% for University of Minnesota students and 21% for Minnesota State Colleges and Universities students. Learn more about comparing college costs.