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Monday, March 10, 2014

Rising Tuition Costs Disproportionately Hit Poorest Students

University of Washington students walk on the campus between classes in October 2012, in Seattle. (Elaine Thompson/AP)

A new analysis finds lower-income students are seeing their costs go up by a greater amount than higher-income students. (Elaine Thompson/AP)

A new analysis by The Hechinger Report, the Education Writers Association and the Dallas Morning News finds that poorer families are disproportionately bearing the brunt of rising tuitions at public and private schools:

Financial-aid officials say higher-income families have learned to work this system, pitting institutions against one another to negotiate for even more discounts while also capturing a lopsided share of outside scholarships.

This phenomenon is occurring even as colleges and universities contend they’re less and less able to help low-income families financially. Higher-income families also disproportionately benefit from tuition tax breaks and an outdated formula for the taxpayer-supported federal work-study program.

At private universities, between the 2008/2009 and 2011/2012 academic years, students in the lowest income group saw their costs go up by around $1,700, while higher-income students saw costs rise by $850 to $1,200 dollars.

Jon Marcus of the The Hechinger Report joins Here & Now’s Robin Young to discuss his reporting.

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