The poor often stay poor – even if they're college graduates. This year, for the first time, PayScale's annual College ROI Report looks at how household income prior to attending college relates to income after graduation. In short, students who enter college from lower-income households don't see the same return on their tuition investment as students who start off with more money in their pockets.
College should be one of the most memorable times in a person's life, not a time of financial stress, anxiety, and hopelessness. However, with the rising cost of attending college and student loan debt more than quadrupling over the past two decades, obtaining a degree is proving to be a strain, especially for students who are financially burdened. One group of low-income students from Columbia University is using social media to shed light on the dismal realities of being a poor student in one of the most prestigious and expensive Ivy League schools in the nation, with a Facebook page entitled Columbia University Class Confessions.
Student loan debt is on the rise. In 2011, 51 percent of first-time, full-time college students had took out student loans, according to the National Center of Education Statistics, an 11 percent increase from 10 years prior. The average size of those loans also increased by 36 percent. During the same period, the country experienced one of the worst recessions in its history, offering college students fewer resources to draw on, in order to offset loans, and dimmer prospects of high-earning employment after graduation. In the latest edition of the College ROI report, PayScale examines which colleges and universities offer the best return and lowest debt load for prospective students.