Sunday, December 07, 2008

Iowa Gets Poor Grade on College Affordability

A report released last week shows that college is too expensive in the state of Iowa.  The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education gave Iowa an F on Affordability.  Iowa gets good marks in college prepartion, participation, and completion.


Iowa performs fairly well in preparing its young people for college, but there are large gaps by ethnicity.

  • Eighth graders perform well in math, science, and reading, but their scores in writing are fairly low.
  • Seventy-four percent of Hispanics have a high school credential, compared with 94% of whites.


Iowa does well in providing college opportunities for young and working-age adults.

  • The state is a top performer in the percentage of working-age adults enrolled in higher education.
  • However, 24% of Hispanic young adults are enrolled in college, compared with 42% of whites.


Higher education has become less affordable for students and their families.

  • Poor and working-class families must devote 40% of their income, even after aid, to pay for costs at two-year colleges.
  • Financial aid to low-income students has declined. For every dollar in Pell Grant aid to students, the state spends only 33 cents-down from 40 cents in 1993.


Iowa performs very well in awarding certificates and degrees.

  • Sixty-three percent of college students complete a bachelor’s degree within six years.
  • However, 50% of Hispanics graduate within six years, compared with 65% of whites.
This means that Iowa's investment in public education is paying off and preparing students to attend college.  These students are going to college and most are completing some sort of college program.  However, because college is not affordable these students are loaded with large student loan debt upon graduation.

This is a key cause of Iowa's Brain Drain.  Iowa needs to lower the cost of a college education in the state or we need a program to forgive student loan debt to encourage students to stay in Iowa after graduation.


Ben said...

I read the statistics a little differently, though I will admit that what I've seen of the report is limited.

The report, and rankings seem to put particular emphasis on hispanic and minority participation without adjusting the "minority" lable for other factors. This seems like a significant point for Iowa when looking at the hispanic population breakdown of income levels.

To put it bluntly, Iowa's minority population is largly in very low income brackets. I would be curious to see how the minority/income breakdown compares between Iowa and the top performing States.

Ben said...

Having gone to the measuringup2008 website I now would point out that every other state except California also received an "F" for "Affordability". One perspective on that is that every state needs to lower the cost of higher education. Another way to look at that, particularly when the finding is so stark, is to say that the survey is biased.

Anonymous said...

I think a lot of the blame rests solely on the shoulders of Chuck Grassley, Tom Latham and Steve King.

They have earmarked money for projects in other states, some that seem to make absolutely no sense at all, instead of using these earmarks to help the people of Iowa, and our college students.

Our best and brightest wont stay in Iowa, because it cot to much and wages are too low once they do graduate.