U study shows barriers financially disadvantaged students face in higher education – The Daily Utah Chronicle
A recent Kem C. Gardner Institute for Policy study of economically disadvantaged students in Utah’s higher education system found a close correlation between income level and academic performance, with some of Utahans face barriers to pursuing higher education and raising their income levels.
Financially disadvantaged students are more likely to work more hours per week, attend college part-time, delay enrollment, take on child and family responsibilities, become first-generation college students, academically and socially face many barriers, such as being less likely to engage in social experiences. According to the report, take advantage of support services.
Economic disadvantage is measured in a number of ways, but the primary focus of the report is individual family income from childhood as measured by K-12 free or discounted lunch entitlement.
Deylan Gudiel, a transfer student from Brigham Young University-Hawaii who will be entering the University of Utah this fall, is eligible for a free or discounted lunch and is eligible for a Pell Grant.
“One of the hardest things about being economically disadvantaged is to see that privilege allows all of your peers to progress much faster and easier than you can and be celebrated for it. I think,” Gudiel said in an email interview. “It’s hard to fall into comparisons or feel like you’re falling behind.”
Gudiel said that although he is a full-time student, he is constantly working, taking time away from his studies.
“I did school part-time, full-time,” he said. “I’ve been on vacation for months, sometimes he’s a year, to help my family, work, save money, do whatever I need to do.”
Barriers to FAFSA
The university’s Scholarship and Financial Aid Office offers scholarships based on financial need, and students must complete a Free Application for Student Aid to be eligible. Her FAFSA completion rate in Utah is among the lowest in the nation, according to Andrea Thomas Brandley, the researcher who conducted the study. In 2016, only 52.6% of Utah’s tertiary-educated students completed her FAFSA, according to the report, and that number dropped to 41.8% of her in 2021.
Gudiel said the FAFSA is very complicated to complete and not a low-income service, and he wasn’t surprised by how low the FAFSA completion rate is. He pointed out that some people may not own computers or have access to Wi-Fi.
“With a high GPA, good grades in school, and good English, it was tough for me.
Anthony P. Jones, Executive Director of Scholarships and Financial Assistance, said this is a complex and multi-layered issue, but it has taken years of awareness campaigns and efforts to streamline the FAFSA process. Given that, the low and declining FAFSA completion rate in Utah is puzzling.
“There have been claims that the complexity of the application form was a barrier, but the simplification of forms and application processes over the past decade has made such claims less credible,” Jones said. I’m here.
He gave examples of recent advances such as digitizing the FAFSA and reducing the number of questions through smart logic that skips irrelevant questions based on the applicant’s response.
A significant portion of the university’s outreach and advocacy work is done in partnership with the Utah Higher Education System, Jones said. The Utah Higher Education System coordinates workshops at high schools across the state to help complete forms and provide other scholarship and financial assistance options.
Benefits of education
Pursuing higher education has many personal benefits, Brandley said, including higher incomes, better financial mobility, educational activities, and a greater chance of teaching your children.
“There is an intergenerational factor that can improve society over the long term,” says Brandley.
Beyond the personal benefits, Brandley said the social benefits are clear and solid. The report notes that unemployment and poverty rates fall with more years of education, while median income and economic mobility rise.
“Not only can we improve the lives of quite a few college students, but we can scale it statewide,” she said.
Gudiel said his advice to other financially disadvantaged students is not to compare yourself to other people’s progress or academic timelines.
“You are doing the best you can with the resources at your disposal. Even if it took you 10 years to complete your degree, you are not late. [or] Low intelligence,” Gudiel said. “[It] In short, it took dedication and resilience to overcome systems designed against me in order to improve my life, break out of the cycle of poverty, and achieve a brighter future for myself and my family. . “