Friday, October 21, 2005

Money Trumps Smarts For College Graduation

This is some distressing news that I came across (so much that I was fussy the entire afternoon). When it comes to graduating from college, the amount of money you have plays a big part regardless of how smart you are. This from a recent press release from the College Board:

Education Pays 2005 also documents persistent gaps in graduation rates. Even among students with very high levels of academic achievement, those from families with low socioeconomic status are significantly less likely to enroll in college than their peers from more privileged backgrounds. Moreover, there are large gaps in college completion rates across socioeconomic groups.

"Socioeconomic status and college success cannot be separated from the serious problem of unequal academic opportunity within our schools," Caperton said. "In addition to increasing the affordability of higher education, we need to make sure that students from all backgrounds have the opportunity to prepare for college. As well, all families should be made aware of the financial aid process and the long-term benefits, both financial and personal, of investing in a college education."

What exactly does all this mean? It means that money is a bigger factor in graduation that how smart you are. From another article:

Sandy Baum, a College Board analyst, said the data show that college completion increasingly is "not about academic preparation, it's about money..."

Within the lowest socioeconomic quartile, 75 percent of high-scoring eighth-graders eventually enrolled in college, but only 29 percent earned college degrees by eight years after high school graduation.

Ninety-nine percent of high-scoring eighth graders within the highest socioeconomic quartile attended college, with 74 percent earning degrees.

This is yet another reason to plan early and save for college costs. In a society where everyone is supposed to have the same advantage no matter where they come from, it shows that having money above how smart you are goes a long way to getting a college degree.

Still shy of 4 months, I'm not sure if there is anything I can do to help with this situation, but I do want to have a good, long discussion (when I learn to talk) about if there is something that I can do to help...

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