Affordability Report Spotlights Key Obstacle to College “Working your way” through school is not an option for many families
A college affordability study looking at Louisville and Kentucky higher education colleges found that “all too often, the numbers just won’t add up” when it comes to Louisville families wanting to send a student to college, without resorting to loans.
While “working your way” through college is often held up as an ideal for students, this report examined what that would realistically look like for ten hypothetical college students and found that it was unrealistic for many of them.
This illuminating approach was adapted from the Institute for Higher Education’s methodology from their recent “Limited Means, Limited Opportunity” report and uses the Lumina Foundation’s Rule of 10 to measure affordability, by comparing potential savings and part-time job earnings to net cost. Key Findings:
• Only two of the ten hypothetical students could afford to go to any Louisville college using savings and “working their way” through school, without taking out loans.
• Only one of the 10 could afford any Kentucky four-year public college.
• Even the students from families making six figures could not afford every school in the state, without loans. What’s affordable?
The Lumina “Rule of Ten” defined “affordable” in simple terms. It assumes that:
• Families save 10 percent of their discretionary income for each of the 10 years leading up to college.
• Students work 10 hours a week while going to college.
Those savings and earnings are then compared to the “net tuition” at Kentucky and regional public and private schools.
Bottomline: The report stresses that this is not a statistical look at Jefferson County families, but it nevertheless examines what “affordable” would look like for different families at different income levels. The result was clear. Many families, of all income levels, will struggle to pay for college without debt.
On December 9, 2016, KentuckianaWorks, 55K and GLI, sponsored Power Forward, the Louisville Region Education and Workforce Summit. The summit, which was attended by over 250 people, picked up on last year’s call to accelerate progress with two main themes:
Making stronger connections between education and employers. Keynote speakers included Peter Cappelli, professor of Management at The Wharton School (Penn) and Director of Wharton’s Center for Human Resources, and Dr. Kate Ziemer, Associate Vice Provost of Curriculum and Professor of Chemical engineering at Northeastern University. Cappelli is also the author of Will College Pay Off?: A Guide to the Most Important Financial Decision You’ll Ever Make, and his presentation called for a “shorter supply chain” between employers and higher education. Ziemer’s presentation explored Northeastern University’s Co-op Program for cooperative education and career development which integrates rigorous classroom study with real-world experiences to create a self-directed learning pathway for students. KentuckianaWorks’ Career Calculator and SummerWorks programs were also highlighted.
This year’s FAFSA comes with important changes, the first being an early release date. Rather than waiting until January to open, the FAFSA opened on October 1st! Don’t fall for the myth that the FAFSA can’t help you; many schools require a FAFSA to give any aid at all, including work-study awards or student loans. Head on over to FAFSA.ed.gov to get started.
An earlier release date means earlier tax information. This year is a “prior prior” year, which means you’ll use 2015 taxes for your 2017-2018 FAFSA. You’ll also have to create a FSA ID (if you don’t already have one) before filling out this year’s FAFSA this year. A FSA ID is an electronic signature that verifies your identity, and you need an email address to create it. Learn more about the FSA ID here.
Remember: Kentucky awards financial aid on a first-come, first-serve basis, so waiting to file your FAFSA could make you lose out on state aid.
If you want guidance for this year’s FAFSA, the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority (KHEAA) is hosting FAFSA completion events at libraries and schools all throughout October. These walk-in events are free and open to the public, so make sure to attend with plenty of questions!
The Louisville Latino Educational Outreach program compiled a list of materials for Latino students interested in college. View the PDF below to learn about scholarships, financial aid resources, career development opportunities, and help with the college application process.
Louisville has been selected to receive the 2016 RWJF Culture of Health prize for its efforts in improving community health and well-being. 55,000 Degrees was recognized as a contributing force in these efforts through a collective impact approach, giving Louisville residents a greater chance at obtaining degrees and improving their quality of life.