Low-income students in Utah face a variety of challenges on their way to college

About 20% fewer “economically disadvantaged” students graduate from college compared to their more affluent peers.

(Brian Albers | KUER) The student center on the Salt Lake Community College campus.

Money may not buy happiness, but it does seem to lead to better student outcomes.

Students from low-income families are struggling more in almost every way than their peers. A new report examining data in Utah shows big disparities starting as early as elementary school.

Ultimately, this means that about 20% fewer “economically disadvantaged” students are enrolling and graduating from college compared to their more affluent peers. This can become a vicious cycle, as lower levels of education typically correlate with lower lifetime earnings.

While low-income students face many obstacles, the commodity they need most is time, said Jim Taggart, president of Ogden-Weber Technical College. At a panel on the report on Thursday, he said fewer than 18% of students at his school are enrolled full-time. At Salt Lake Community College, it’s less than 10%.

“They come to us and say, ‘I don’t even have six months, I have to get a better-paying job right away,'” Taggart said, although some programs are only three months long.

To read more, visit KUER.org.

This article is published by the Utah News Collaborative, a partnership of Utah news organizations dedicated to educating readers across the state.

https://www.sltrib.com/news/education/2022/06/16/low-income-students-utah/ Low-income students in Utah face a variety of challenges on their way to college

Joel McCord

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