CONSEQUENCES • CHILD CARE AND EDUCATION  

IMPACT ON ALICE • HIGHER EDUCATION

Income is highly correlated with education level. Nationally, the difference in lifetime earnings between high school graduates and those who hold a bachelor’s degree is estimated to be $830,800. Yet higher education is out of reach for many Americans. About 70 percent of low-income students attend college immediately after high school, compared to 80 percent of children from high-income families.43

Students in ALICE families encounter numerous obstacles to attaining higher education, including:

  • Affordability of tuition, housing, books, supplies, transportation, and “hidden costs” such as technology and college fees

  • Difficulty navigating financial aid and other available resources

  • A steep educational, institutional, and social learning curve, especially for first-generation college students

  • Limited geographic mobility (students may not be able to move away from home to attend college, even if accepted) 44

  • Inadequate K-12 preparation (deficiencies in core areas, such as reading, writing, and math)

  • Balancing work and study (if students need to work to make ends meet)

  • Physical, emotional, and cognitive effects of debt 45

Education Attainment and Median Annual Earnings, U.S., 2017

Source: American Community Survey. (2017). 1-, 3-, and 5-year estimates

What do families do if they can’t afford college?

 

Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed

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