The University of Connecticut, with 12 other four-year Connecticut universities, has average net prices that are significantly higher for low-income students, Amy Dowell, state director of Education Reform Now CT, said.
According to the Nov. 2019 report “Less For More: Low Rates of Completion and high costs at Connecticut’s Four-Year Colleges,” the 12 schools were listed as charging at least double what national peers charge students from low-income families, which are families who make at or below $30,000 per year. The net price, the price a student pays after all federal, state and institution grant aid has been combined, is high for an academic year.
Dowell said that the higher prices can negatively impact low-income families.
“In UConn’s case, we found that it charged $11,626 in 2016 to low-income students, while one of its peers, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, charged only $3,889 to low-income students in the same year,” Dowell said. “That’s a difference of $7,737 per year. If you multiply that net cost by four to six years, you can begin to appreciate the difference it will make to a student from a low-income family.”
The 11 other schools are Albertus Magnus College, Central Connecticut State University, Connecticut College, Quinnipiac University, Sacred Heart University, Southern Connecticut State University, Trinity College, University of Bridgeport, University of Hartford, Western Connecticut State University and Yale University, according to the report.
UConn, however, does compare favorably to other Connecticut universities in the fact that it has a higher graduation rate for underrepresented minority populations, Dowell said.
“This means that even if a student of color from a low-income family takes on more debt to attend UConn than [they] might have to attend a school in another state, at least [they are] likely to graduate with a meaningful credential,” Dowell said.
Education Reform Now CT is the state chapter of the national organization that works to advance equity and protect civil rights in an academic setting, Dowell said. For the report, Dowell said that they collected public data from College Results Online, a database that pulls information from the U.S. Department of Education’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System.
Dowell said that Education Reform Now CT focused on six-year graduation rates, six-year graduation rates for students of color and net prices with the data from Connecticut’s four year colleges. They determined that Connecticut schools, on average, have low graduation rates and high net prices.
“Our analysis finds that [one] there’s a set of CT’s four-year colleges that have low rates of completion, either for their general populations or for underrepresented minority subgroups,” Dowell said. “[Two] there’s a set of CT’s four-year colleges that charge an exceptionally high net price to students from the lowest income families and [three] there’s a set of CT’s four-year colleges that do both — combining low graduation rates and high net prices for low-income students relative to peer institutions nationally.”
Dowell said it is important to analyze this data because it can help students to decide which college they want to attend and it help highlights the need for legislature.
“The takeaway from this study is that too many Connecticut students are simply not set up for success. Connecticut can and should do better by its students,” Dowell said. “This data shows that our institutions of higher education are sometimes leaving our most vulnerable students worse off than before they enrolled. When we ask young people to take on debt without even earning the credentials that will allow for paying it off — that also has a compounding effect on our state economy.”
Rachel Philipson is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.