Only the relatively wealthiest students can afford to attend most public flagship institutions, according to a new report released last week by the Institute for Higher Education Policy.
The report found that only six of 50 state flagships meet an affordability benchmark for low-income students (see graphic, below).
Browse all jobs on Inside Higher Ed Careers »
Mamie Voight, vice president of policy research at IHEP and a co-author of the report, said public institutions funded by taxpayers should better serve low-income students, a demographic that’s growing in overall college enrollments. Flagship universities often have high graduation rates and good post-college outcomes for students, Voight said, making them a good vehicle for social mobility.
But flagships “are not following through on that promise,” she said, because they aren’t providing affordable, accessible education for low- and middle-income students. This results in some students taking out large loans, working long hours while attending school and facing difficulty covering basic needs such as food, all of which can lead to poorer outcomes for the students. Other students may opt for a less expensive college with fewer supports, or forgo college altogether.