Despite numerous policies to make college more accessible, most low-income students never consider college, many choose to attend for-profit or two-year institutions, most avoid more expensive colleges, and the majority never graduate.
These rather bleak conclusions recently appeared in the 1st annual status report, Indicators of Opportunity in Higher Education, published by The Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education.
In 1999-2000, approximately 56 percent of 18 to 24-year-old were in college or had attended college. When broken down by income, 31 percent of low-income students (from families with incomes below $25,000), compared to 79 percent of high-income students (from families with incomes higher than $75,000), were enrolled in college or had attended college.
Among those students in the lowest income group, an estimated 7 percent attain their bachelor's degree by age 24, compared to 39 percent for those students from the middle income group, and 52 percent for those from the highest income group.