Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

NAFEO Members Discuss Challenges to Student Success

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

NAFEO Members Discuss Challenges to Student Success

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON

Financial obstacles pose the biggest challenge to student success, concluded educators and students at the 30th annual conference of the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education last month.

"The buying power of grants is diminishing. The Pell Grant covers 68 percent at a two-year college and 41 percent at a four-year college," said Dr. Eugene Anderson, senior research associate for the American Council on Education, as the educators grappled with the question of how to keep graduation statistics on par with enrollment figures.

"Financial challenges have a significant impact," Anderson added. "When students work off campus, they step over that line."

Danielle Koon, a freshman at North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro, agreed.

"People don't have money to pay for (college) anymore," said the broadcasting major and Washington, D.C., native.

Koon gave first-hand accounts of students at her school that cannot afford to live on campus and who hold both on- and off-campus jobs, in addition to carrying a full-time class load.

"We all need to go down to (Congress) and let them know that the financial issue is the biggest problem," she said.

Some colleges are more successful than others at maintaining graduation rates, says Stephanie Robinson, principal partner for the think tank and advocacy group The Education Trust. The statistics Education Trust has compiled document an overall gap between enrollment rates and the graduation rates within six years of enrollment at historically Black colleges and universities. …

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