America’s colleges and universities are quietly shifting the burden of their big tuition increases onto low-income students, while many higher-income families are seeing their college costs rise more slowly, or even fall, an analysis of federal data shows.
It’s a trend financial-aid experts and some university administrators worry will further widen the gap between the nation’s rich and poor as college degrees—especially four-year ones—drift beyond the economic reach of growing numbers of students.
“We’re just exacerbating the income inequalities and educational achievement gaps,” said Deborah Santiago, co-founder and vice president of Excelencia in Education, a nonprofit group that advocates for Latino and other students.
The shift also runs contrary to an Obama administration push to make a college degree more affordable for low-income students. At a White House summit in January, college leaders and others promised to find ways to make degrees more affordable for the less affluent. <Read more.>