Admissions, First Generation Students

How to Stand Out on a College Application as a First-Generation Student

No Comments 14 September 2017

As a first-generation college student, going up against thousands of other college applicants might seem intimidating. Here are some tips for how you can stand out on your application.

Determine if you have first-generation status at this school. Colleges have different definitions of first-generation. Some consider students whose parents who never attended any post-secondary institution as first-generation students. Others will consider students whose parents attended a two-year institution to be first-generation. Colleges also consider you to be a first-generation student if your parents didn’t attend college, but your siblings did.

Be authentic. When you are answering questions on the application, don’t pretend to be someone you’re not. Keep the writing clear and precise. There’s no need to break out a thesaurus. Use simple language when you are explaining your academic/career goals and why you want to attend this specific college.

Let your experiences shine in your application essay. Your college application essay is the best place for you to share your experiences. If you are able to select your own topic, write about a personal experience that highlights the struggles you have overcome as a first-generation student. If you are unable to pick the essay topic, just make sure you find a way to tie back the essay to your life. Admissions officers want a well-rounded student body. Show them why you are unique.

Have your mentor check over your application. Your mentor has been through the college application process. He or she will know what a college admissions officer is looking for. This person also should know you. Your mentor should be able to give you tips as to what personality traits and life experiences you should highlight in your college application.

Diversity, Undocumented Students

What You Need to Know about the End of DACA

No Comments 12 September 2017

The Trump administration, in response to legal threats from attorneys general in conservative states, has moved to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The program will expire in March 2018.

The Trump administration has stated that the U.S. Congress, not the White House, should be responsible for extending or altering the program. Congress has not acted to extend the program and it’s unclear if it will.

It is likely that the program’s end will be challenged in federal court.

Here’s what you need to know about the program’s end, as it stands now:

  • Work authorizations will remain valid for two years.
  • If a work authorization expires on or before March 5, 2018, people covered under DACA can apply to renew the authorization. The renewal application must be submitted by October 5, 2017.

  • After a work authorization expires, employers must reverify an employee’s authorization to work in the U.S. A company must dismiss an employee if the employee cannot document that they are authorized to work in the U.S.
  • Even if your DACA status lapses, you still can receive health insurance. If a DACA recipient receives health insurance through an employer, they can continue the health insurance after termination through COBRA by paying the full cost. COBRA is typically limited to 18 months after termination.
  • Social Security Numbers (SSN) received under DACA remain valid for filing tax returns. They should continue using the SSNs and not seek an ITIN to replace the SSN.
  • Eligibility for in-state tuition and state grants depends on the policies of each state. DACA students never were eligible for federal student aid.

Admissions, Choosing A School, Diversity, Low Income Students

Best Private Colleges for Low-Income Students

No Comments 30 August 2017

The 73 private colleges that satisfy the selection criteria enroll a total of 253,926 undergraduate students, including 48,876 Federal Pell Grant recipients (19%). The average net price is $8,716, ranging from $353 to $12,389. The average 6-year graduation rate for Federal Pell Grant recipients is 83%, ranging from 50% to 100%.

The colleges are listed in alphabetical order.

Best Private Colleges Percentage
Pell Grant
Recipients
Net Price for
Low-Income Students
(AGI $0 to $30,000)
6-Year
Graduation Rates for
Pell Grant Recipients (2013)
Amherst College 20% $3,700 94%
Barnard College 18% $9,231 86%
Bates College 11% $7,426 88%
Berea College 83% $3,575 58%
Blue Mountain College 53% $8,246 55%
Bob Jones University 41% $11,323 58%
Bowdoin College 14% $5,925 90%
Brigham Young University – Idaho 39% $5,374 54%
Brown University 14% $3,186 93%
California Institute of Technology 11% $6,696 91%
Carleton College 12% $11,760 92%
Christian Brothers University 42% $6,466 56%
Claremont McKenna College 12% $9,225 85%
Colby College 11% $1,710 89%
Colgate University 12% $12,034 100%
College of the Atlantic 30% $12,014 75%
College of the Holy Cross 16% $11,808 88%
College of the Ozarks 62% $10,296 60%
Connecticut College 13% $9,282 86%
Cornell University 16% $11,665 92%
Dartmouth College 14% $7,529 92%
Davidson College 13% $8,289 94%
Duke University 14% $8,777 94%
Franklin and Marshall College 14% $10,661 87%
Georgetown University 13% $9,638 92%
Grinnell College 21% $8,112 84%
Harvey Mudd College 13% $8,770 80%
Haverford College 15% $8,881 92%
Hobart & William Smith Colleges 18% $11,994 78%
Illinois College 33% $12,266 68%
Johns Hopkins University 13% $10,049 95%
Kenyon College 10% $2,813 85%
Lafayette College 11% $11,995 90%
Massachusetts Institute of Technology 18% $5,128 88%
McDaniel College 31% $11,740 67%
Middlebury College 11% $4,904 89%
Milligan College 36% $7,904 52%
Northwestern University 14% $11,700 93%
Oberlin College 11% $11,788 89%
Pitzer College 16% $12,389 90%
Pomona College 17% $5,807 93%
Presbyterian College 23% $9,972 50%
Princeton University 12% $3,630 97%
Reed College 17% $9,423 76%
Rice University 17% $6,468 91%
Russell Sage College 46% $12,361 80%
Saint Johns University 19% $12,254 70%
Saint Josephs College 32% $11,072 71%
Salem College 56% $12,272 58%
Sewanee:  The University of the South 18% $9,107 70%
Skidmore College 15% $11,354 91%
Smith College 23% $11,619 90%
St. Olaf College 15% $11,792 88%
Stanford University 16% $2,841 91%
Swarthmore College 14% $8,537 89%
Trinity College 12% $11,030 91%
Trinity University 15% $8,977 78%
Tufts University 11% $10,574 92%
Union College- NY 16% $8,682 89%
University of Chicago 14% $8,964 92%
University of Notre Dame 12% $9,048 92%
University of Pennsylvania 14% $9,799 93%
University of Richmond 20% $10,742 82%
Vanderbilt University 14% $6,905 87%
Vassar College 22% $10,558 89%
Washington and Lee University 10% $353 90%
Washington University in St Louis 6% $11,100 92%
Wellesley College 19% $9,735 91%
Wesleyan University 18% $6,009 94%
Whittier College 36% $11,378 66%
Williams College 19% $3,127 92%
Yale University 13% $3,918 96%

Take a look at this list of best public colleges for low-income students.

Admissions, Choosing A School, Diversity, Low Income Students

Best Public Colleges for Low-Income Students

No Comments 30 August 2017

The 123 public colleges that satisfy the selection criteria enroll a total of 2,015,267 total undergraduate students, including 603,852 Federal Pell Grant recipients (30%). The average net price is $8,984, ranging from $3,364 to $12,464. The 6-year graduation rate for Federal Pell Grant recipients is 63%, ranging from 50% to 88%.

The colleges are listed in alphabetical order.

Best Public Colleges Percentage
Pell Grant
Recipients
Net Price for
Low-Income Students (AGI $0 to 30,000)
6-Year
Graduation Rates for
Pell Grant Recipients (2013)
Appalachian State University 26% $7,671 63%
Ball State University 35% $9,260 51%
California Polytechnic State Univ. – San Luis Obispo 20% $10,611 56%
California State Polytechnic Univ. – Pomona 44% $6,984 51%
California State University – Fullerton 41% $3,364 50%
California State University – Long Beach 47% $5,549 54%
California State University – Stanislaus 58% $3,794 53%
Central Michigan University 35% $10,753 60%
Citadel Military College of South Carolina 24% $11,417 59%
Clemson University 18% $11,253 74%
College of William and Mary 12% $5,136 86%
Colorado State University 26% $10,449 56%
CUNY Bernard M Baruch College 45% $5,318 69%
CUNY College of Staten Island 45% $7,635 51%
CUNY Queens College 38% $4,207 58%
Dakota State University 24% $11,029 52%
East Carolina University 32% $10,257 52%
Fitchburg State University 34% $9,897 53%
Florida International University 58% $9,039 53%
Georgia Institute of Technology 19% $6,138 78%
Grand Valley State University 36% $11,530 62%
Illinois State University 26% $11,958 63%
Indiana University – Bloomington 19% $4,855 64%
Iowa State University 23% $8,721 58%
James Madison University 13% $11,154 77%
Longwood University 23% $11,651 56%
Louisiana State University 20% $5,692 58%
Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts 45% $10,364 53%
Massachusetts Maritime Academy 19% $5,159 57%
Michigan State University 24% $6,434 72%
Michigan Technological University 27% $8,056 61%
Missouri University of Science and Technology 26% $10,832 56%
New College of Florida 29% $6,411 66%
New Jersey Institute of Technology 39% $11,445 57%
North Carolina State University at Raleigh 22% $6,451 70%
North Dakota State University 23% $11,272 50%
Northern State University 23% $11,757 52%
Ohio State University 22% $10,566 74%
Oklahoma State University 29% $9,630 55%
Purdue University 21% $7,153 59%
Radford University 28% $11,448 59%
Ramapo College of New Jersey 25% $9,805 60%
Salisbury University 22% $8,468 66%
San Diego State University 40% $6,980 63%
Sonoma State University 30% $10,077 53%
Southern Connecticut State University 35% $10,835 51%
St Mary’s College of Maryland 15% $4,827 64%
Stony Brook University 35% $8,770 70%
SUNY at Albany 37% $10,515 67%
SUNY at Binghamton 27% $10,585 75%
SUNY at Buffalo 28% $10,146 66%
SUNY at Fredonia 35% $10,190 60%
SUNY at Geneseo 23% $9,704 71%
SUNY College at Brockport 41% $8,747 66%
SUNY College at Cortland 27% $10,442 65%
SUNY College at New Paltz 28% $8,551 69%
SUNY College at Oneonta 29% $8,507 59%
SUNY College at Plattsburgh 35% $8,366 54%
SUNY College at Purchase 32% $12,423 59%
SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry 27% $11,586 73%
Texas A & M University 22% $4,304 72%
Texas Tech University 29% $9,733 50%
The College of New Jersey 18% $6,910 73%
The Evergreen State College 44% $9,951 60%
The University of Tennessee 30% $8,770 54%
The University of Texas at Austin 27% $10,696 70%
The University of Texas at Dallas 35% $8,471 55%
Towson University 25% $9,034 54%
Truman State University 19% $7,798 62%
University of Arizona 33% $11,562 53%
University of California – Berkeley 32% $8,607 88%
University of California – Davis 43% $10,492 75%
University of California – Irvine 43% $8,532 87%
University of California – Los Angeles 36% $8,027 86%
University of California – Merced 60% $8,720 59%
University of California – Riverside 56% $9,678 68%
University of California – San Diego 43% $8,362 84%
University of California – Santa Barbara 38% $10,190 79%
University of California – Santa Cruz 45% $10,862 71%
University of Central Florida 38% $10,637 64%
University of Delaware 12% $10,643 80%
University of Florida 32% $7,207 81%
University of Georgia 24% $8,558 72%
University of Hawaii at Manoa 31% $7,506 57%
University of Illinois at Chicago 49% $9,663 54%
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 20% $7,801 78%
University of Iowa 19% $8,584 60%
University of Maine at Fort Kent 32% $9,912 52%
University of Maryland – Baltimore 27% $11,501 61%
University of Maryland – College Park 19% $6,938 75%
University of Massachusetts Amherst 25% $11,064 66%
University of Massachusetts – Lowell 30% $10,718 52%
University of Michigan – Ann Arbor 16% $5,470 82%
University of Michigan – Dearborn 43% $8,483 56%
University of Minnesota – Duluth 24% $8,312 52%
University of Minnesota – Morris 29% $8,797 55%
University of Minnesota – Twin Cities 22% $8,650 63%
University of Mississippi 30% $10,898 51%
University of Nebraska – Lincoln 20% $11,395 58%
University of North Carolina at Asheville 32% $8,127 52%
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 21% $3,823 86%
University of North Carolina at Charlotte 40% $8,307 53%
University of North Carolina at Greensboro 44% $7,923 52%
University of North Carolina – Wilmington 28% $10,912 65%
University of Northern Iowa 27% $10,283 60%
University of Oregon 26% $12,083 56%
University of South Florida 41% $6,735 62%
University of Utah 32% $11,640 61%
University of Vermont 19% $10,742 73%
University of Virginia 12% $9,615 84%
University of Washington – Bothell 35% $7,304 69%
University of Washington – Seattle 25% $7,054 77%
University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire 27% $8,695 58%
University of Wisconsin – La Crosse 23% $9,225 64%
University of Wisconsin – Madison 15% $9,235 73%
University of Wisconsin – Platteville 31% $9,518 51%
University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point 34% $8,295 54%
Virginia Military Institute 15% $5,129 77%
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University 17% $12,446 78%
Washington State University 33% $10,296 59%
Western Michigan University 40% $12,464 53%
Western Washington University 26% $8,762 65%
Westfield State University 26% $11,181 54%

Take a look at this list of best private colleges for low-income students.

Admissions, Choosing A School, Diversity, Low Income Students

Best Colleges for Low-Income Students

No Comments 30 August 2017

Finding an affordable but high-quality college can be challenging for low-income and first-generation students. This article presents lists of public and private 4-year colleges, all of which have a low net price and a high graduation rate for low-income students.

Not only are these colleges affordable for low-income students, but the students are likely to graduate with an affordable amount of debt.

Recommendations

Students should consider a variety of colleges before they begin the application process. Historically, students from low-income backgrounds have applied to too few colleges, often enrolling at institutions that are not a good academic, social and financial fit. This leads to sub-optimal outcomes like low retention and graduation rates and high debt. Students should cast a wide net. Look at private and public institutions, in-state and out-of-state schools, and small and large colleges. Students should be encouraged to learn about colleges and universities you have never heard of before.

Every low-income student should consider their in-state public colleges, as those institutions will often be the most affordable option. In-state public colleges are also a good option because low-income students tend to choose colleges that are close to home. Students may be able to save on college costs by living at home with their families instead of on a college campus.

The net price for public colleges is based on the in-state tuition rates. The net price for out-of-state students may be much higher.

Low-income students should also consider private colleges with low net prices and high graduation rates. In some cases, generous private colleges can have a lower net price than some in-state public institutions.

For both public and private colleges, students should aim to have total student loan debt at graduation that is less than their annual starting salary. If total student loan debt is less than annual income, the student should be able to repay his or her student loans in ten years or less.

Methodology

The lists of public and private colleges were identified using a combination of two factors:

  • Affordable. Affordability was based on the one-year net price for students with a family income of $0 to $30,000, using data from the 2013-14 Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). The net price is the discounted sticker price, the costs that remain after subtracting average grants, scholarships and other gift aid from the total cost of attendance. Only colleges with a net price under $12,500 were included.
  • Good Outcomes. Outcomes were based on the 6-year graduation rates for Federal Pell Grant recipients, using data from the Education Trust. The Federal Pell Grant is the largest need-based grant program, awarded mostly to low-income students. Only colleges with 6-year graduation rates of 50% or more were included. This ensures that low-income students at these colleges are more likely to graduate than not.

Some colleges were omitted because the Pell Grant recipient graduation rate data were not available. Examples include Brigham Young University – Provo, Columbia University in the City of New York, Cooper Union and Harvard University.

Several colleges with a reputation for serving low-income students did not satisfy the selection criteria because their net price for low-income students was too high.

We present the lists of recommended public and private colleges in two separate articles. The lists are expected to be stable from year to year.

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