Poverty and College: Overcoming for Success



It’s January; that means that a lot of students who received college acceptance letters are now working on financial aid applications. Several news outlets are covering the topic of low and moderate-income students’ experience getting in to and succeeding in college. I recieved a full scholarship for my undergraduate education. Without that scholarship, I would have been working or applying every year for grants and loans to pay for school. I had the chance to focus on my studies without the burden of worrying about how I was going to pay for it.

NPR’s article, Elite Colleges Struggle To Recruit Smart, Low-Income Kids, tells the story from the perspective of the colleges. The interviewer talks to Havard recruiters about their efforts to get low-income students to apply and enroll at the university. One of the obstacles is getting students, who don’t have mentors or other connections with people who have attended Ivy League schools, to look at these schools beyond the price tag. Without personal connections, many students do not consider this option.

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The NY Times, For Poor, Leap to College Often Ends in a Hard Fall, profiles four young women from Texas. The students struggled to translate their high school academic success to the college arena. Relationships with friends or lack thereof, money, and moral support all became obstacles for the students.

One of the reasons low and moderate income students falter in college is moral support. I was fortunate to make friends and have professors who took an interest in my well being. Many of those people remain friends and mentors.

Blogger Harriet writes about her experience in Black, Poor, and Woman in Higher Education: What I Learned From Graduate School. She shares her lessons, things she probably wished someone would have told her.

100_0292This issue is important because communities need these students to become successful citizens. These will be the future parents, business owners, and civic leaders. Communities can only be as strong as their residents. It is a waste if talented low and moderate-income students aren’t given the adequate resources to fulfill their potential.