How Low Income Undergraduates Financed Postsecondary Education:1992-93
In 1989-90, 76 percent of low income undergraduates reported that the fact that an institution offered the course of study they wanted was a very important consideration in their choice of institution. They cited this factor far more frequently than any other (table 4). However, financial considerations were important as well. Forty-five percent of low income students reported that obtaining the financial aid they needed was a very important consideration (compared with only 20 percent of other students). Low income students were also more likely than other students to report that other factors that had financial implications (lower tuition and other expenses, a good reputation for placement, and being able to finish in a shorter time) were very important.
Although students were not asked in NPSAS:93 why they chose the institution in which they enrolled, there is some evidence of efforts on the part of low income students to try to reduce costs. For example, low income students at 4-year institutions were more likely
Table 4 Percentage of undergraduates who rated various reasons for selecting the institution attended as very important, by income group and dependency status: 1989-90
Tuition School Could Offered Could School and other had good finish Obtained course of go to Could School was expenses reputation in financial study school live had good close were for shorter aid wanted and work at home reputation to home less placement time needed __________________________________________________________________________________________ Total 72.6 51.3 50.5 50.4 43.4 36.8 36.1 29.2 24.4 Low income Total 75.9 48.8 50.6 52.6 44.8 42.2 41.2 37.1 45.3 Dependency status Dependent 71.6 43.2 39.7 51.9 36.6 40.7 45.8 26.6 52.7 Single independent 80.9 49.0 64.1 53.4 52.9 41.7 40.4 45.6 47.7 Independent with dependents 74.8 52.7 46.6 52.4 43.6 43.9 38.4 37.4 37.9 Not low income Total 71.9 51.8 50.4 49.9 43.1 35.5 34.9 27.1 19.5 Dependency status Dependent 66.9 38.9 34.4 51.8 34.3 35.7 40.6 21.1 20.3 Single independent 80.0 63.8 75.9 48.0 56.2 34.3 27.6 36.0 19.5 Independent with dependents 74.7 73.4 59.2 47.2 49.4 36.7 28.8 31.6 17.4
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, 1989-90 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS:90), Undergraduate Data Analysis System.
than other undergraduates (24 percent compared with 20 percent) to live with their parents or relatives. This can be an important strategy for reducing housing and, possibly, transportation costs (table 5). Based on tuition and fees paid by students who attended full time, full year, low income undergraduates appear to be sensitive to tuition charges. Except at public less-than-4-year institutions, low income undergraduates enrolled full time, full year paid a lower average amount for tuition and fees than their counterparts who were not low income at the same type of institution (table 6). This suggests that low income students may be choosing lower cost rather than high-cost private institutions and less expensive public institutions over more expensive ones as a way of keeping down their educational costs.
Table 5 Percentage distribution of undergraduates according to local residence, by institution type and income group: 1992-93
Off campus, On with parents Other campus or relatives off campus ______________________________________________________ Total Total 12.8 28.1 59.0 Income group Low income 10.7 29.4 59.9 Not low income 13.5 27.3 59.2 Less-than-4-year* Total 2.5 34.2 63.2 Income group Low income 3.2 33.4 63.4 Not low income 2.4 33.6 64.0 4-year Total 25.2 21.1 53.8 Income group Low income 21.1 24.0 55.0 Not low income 26.8 19.9 53.3 Private, for-profit Total 3.1 32.5 64.4 Income group Low income 2.8 33.3 63.8 Not low income 3.3 31.3 65.4
* Excluding private, for-profit institutions. Most private, for-profit institutions are less-than-4-year, but they are distinct from public and private, not-for-profit less-than-4-year institutions.
NOTE: Percentages may not add to 100 due to rounding. Totals include students with missing income data. Therefore, the percentages for totals may be higher or lower than the percentages for both low income and not low income students.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, 1992-93 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS:93), Undergraduate Data Analysis System.
Table 6 Average tuition for undergraduates attending full time, full year, by type of institution and income group: 1992-93
Public Private, not- less-than- Public for-profit Private, 4-year 4-year 4-year for-profit ______________________________________________________________ Total $1,160 $2,987 $11,194 $5,823 Income group Low income 1,169 2,601 8,784 5,332 Not low income 1,171 3,033 11,634 6,164
NOTE: Totals include students with missing income data. Therefore, the amounts for all students may be greater or less than the amounts for both low income and not low income students.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education
Statistics, 1992-93 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS:93),
Undergraduate Data Analysis System.