Inside Higher Ed explains the Community College Student Success Act, a bill recently reintroduced to Congress that would devote funding to community colleges in order to increase retention and completion. By allocating $10 billion over ten years toward “wraparound services” for full time students and $5 billion for part-time students, the bill would ensure free tutoring and textbooks, as well as personal, academic and career advising. Advocates for the bill stress the necessity of supporting students throughout their entire college careers — including at schools that may not be able to independently afford to do so, particularly in light of enrollment drops since the pandemic.
The Wall Street Journal reports on the elite graduate programs that leave students saddled with extreme debt and without a post-grad salary high enough to pay it off. Because there are no limits on federal graduate loans and these loans can be forgiven after 20 to 25 years, students may remain in debt for decades but schools are motivated to continue expanding programs. In the end, students enticed by the prospect of a prestigious degree — and told that such education is the key to economic mobility — are actually left “financially hobbled for life” and pleading with school administrators to make a change.
Law students on financial aid often see their tuition fees adjusted in order to take into account their summer job salaries, according to WBUR. As a result, a majority of these salaries may end up going toward school expenses, rather than students’ basic or family needs. While this protocol has been in place at law schools for years, the additional economic stress of the pandemic has put more pressure on schools to adjust and accommodate low-income students.
In an op-ed for The Boston Globe, researcher Jodie Adams Kirshner discusses the particular barriers for low-income students who wish to attend, and graduate from, college. Despite President Biden’s plans to make community college free, Kirshner suggests that such programs are not a “cure-all” solution. Rather, she proposes that many students will feel pushed — or be counseled — into community college because of the accessibility, even though other, potentially more selective schools may be the better option for them.