Limited Means, Limited Options: College Remains Unaffordable for Many Americans

Limited Means, Limited Options: College Remains Unaffordable for Many Americans

Cuts in state funding and rising costs are making college education unaffordable for many Americans of limited financial means, hindering economic mobility and undermining the country's basic ideals of opportunity and fairness, a report from the Institute for Higher Education Policy finds. The report, Limited Means, Limited Options: College Remains Unaffordable for Many Americans (20 pages, PDF), examined the affordability of more than two thousand colleges based on the Lumina Foundation's Affordability Benchmark and found that while a student from the highest income quintile could afford to attend 90 percent of the colleges in the sample, low- and moderate-income students with fewer financial resources could only afford to attend between 1 percent and 5 percent. The report calls on federal policy makers to protect and strengthen the Pell Grant program, on Congress to pass legislation to improve the transparency of the financial aid process, on states to boost direct investment in public colleges and need-based aid programs, and on colleges to focus institutional expenditures on students and to keep their costs low for low-income students.