5 Colleges Make the Affordability Grade
Few colleges are deemed affordable for low-income students.
Attending college requires a substantial investment from families with very few low-cost options available excepting for public, two-year community and technical colleges. While two-year institutions certainly have a place in academia, these schools only offer a partial answer to obtaining a four-year degree as students must successfully transfer if they are to secure a coveted bachelor’s degree. Others might find it easier to obtain their bachelor’s degree at four-year institutions like South University Richmond VA due to the flexibility and convenience of online degree programs.
The Education Trust
There are a handful of colleges making the affordability grade with the Education Trust identifying five that pass muster in its just-released report, “How the Wrong Financial-Aid Policies Hurt Low-Income Students.” The trust’s purpose is “…to close the gaps in opportunity and achievement that consign far too many young people—especially those from low-income families or who are black, Latino, or American Indian—to lives on the margins of the American mainstream.”
Of 1,186 schools investigated by the trust, just five offered a comparable net annual cost of $4,600 or less, a graduation rate of 50 percent or higher and had low-income student enrollments in excess of 30 percent. The named educational institutions are: University of North Carolina at Greensboro, City University of New York (CUNY) Queens College, California State University–Fullerton, CUNY Bernard M. Baruch College, and California State University–Long Beach. 
All five colleges are located in states that lead in providing need-based financial aid. Moreover, each of the five universities has a stated mission to closing gaps of access and success between high-income and low-income students, and between students of color and white students.
Speaking on behalf of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, UNCG Chancellor Linda P. Brady said, “UNCG has long been a first-choice university for a wide array of students, including first generationals, and those with financial challenges. We are proud to offer affordable tuition rates, support programs to help first-generation college students thrive through our Student Success Center, and financial aid programs such as UNCG Guarantee, which promises an undergraduate education with as little debt as possible to academically strong students with financial need. It is very encouraging to see Educational Trust’s acknowledgment of UNCG’s dedication to making a college education a reality for all students.”
One college that didn’t make the list, but receives special recognition nonetheless is Berea College in Kentucky. This school offers all of its students a tuition-free college education, something it is able to do because of a huge endowment, required work study and a simple or “plain living” budget. Students in Appalachia are primarily served by Berea College, compromising one of the poorest areas in America.