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Education study finds low-income Latinos and other students of color hardest hit by rising college costs

LatinaLista — It’s one thing for students to want to go to college but it’s quite another for them to be able to afford it. The dilemma is not new.


For years, students short on cash for tuition have resorted to working an outside job to help pay expenses. Now, a new study examining the situation in California validates something long known across the country — students of color are more likely to hold down a job while taking classes, but even a little extra income isn’t lessening the financial pain in these days of skyrocketing tuition, fees and book rates.

In the study, “Higher Tuition, More Work, and Academic Harm: An Examination of the Impact of Tuition Hikes on the Employment Experiences of Under-represented Minority Students,” it was found that the more hours students had to work, the less likely they would ever finish their degrees.

Additional findings of the study are:

· 86% of students reported working for pay; the majority working only one job (76%), while others held more than one job.

· The average number of hours worked was 27 hours per week. 83% of students worked 15 hours per week (83%); 36% reported working over 35 hours per week. (Other research shows that students working more than 15 hours a week suffer in their academic performance).

· 60% of students report not being able to take the classes they need due to their work schedules.

· Students report taking longer to graduate (62%) due to work, lacking time for school work (86%), lowered grades (70%), and multiple students reported missing many opportunities for on-campus support programs (65%), including faculty office hours.

· 30% of students responded that they are considering dropping out of college.
The report concludes by urging policymakers to increase state funding for state school grants so that it can prominently help those students with the greatest financial needs. UCLA Professor Jose Luis Santos, who conducted a second study exploring the trends on students over a 20-year period with inflation, states, “In a state with extreme income inequality and flat or declining wages for many families, but where middle class status is increasingly limited to college graduates, this is an urgent priority.”

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