Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Report: Higher Education Fiscal Crisis Hardest on Hispanic, Low-Income Students

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Report: Higher Education Fiscal Crisis Hardest on Hispanic, Low-Income Students

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON

Low-income and Hispanic students are faring worst amid file financial fix gripping American higher education, according to a report by Dr. Eduardo Padron, president of Florida's Miami Dade College.

The report, "A Deficit of Understanding: Confronting the Funding Crisis in Higher Education and the Threat to Low-Income and Minority Access," says low-income and Hispanic students are struggling with soaring college costs more than other students and calls on Congress for help. Without reforms, the report says, more and more students will be squeezed out of higher education, and society will pay the price.

According to the report, tuition and fees at a public four-year college currently amount to 71 percent of the earnings of a low-income family--compared to 5 percent and 19 percent of the earnings of upper- and middle-income families, respectively. The report says swelling costs will bar low-income students from pursuing higher education and "the ultimate damage will be an upsurge in the well-known cycle of poverty that straps untold numbers of poor youth to dead-end, dispiriting employment. The economy, too, is denied thousands of much needed, qualified workers for emerging industries."

Increasing college costs are also allotting Hispanics, the report says: "For every $1,000 increase in annual tuition, 6 to 8 percent of the Hispanic population loses access to higher education." And while Hispanics have made some gains in college enrollment, the rates lag behind those of their African American and White peers. Between 1980 and 2000, enrollment rates among Hispanics between the ages of 18 and 24 rose from 16 percent to 22 percent, according to the report, while African Americans' enrollment rates jumped from 19 percent to 31 percent, and rates among Whites increased from 25 percent to 39 percent. …

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