Out of Reach? How a Shared Definition of College Affordability Exposes a Crisis for Low-Income Students
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This analysis attempts to use one definition of affordability to figure out which states have affordable college for which students. Simply, the Rule of 10 states that college is affordable if students can meet the total net price through 10 hours of work per week and 10 percent of a family’s discretionary income over 10 years. Using this benchmark, the author examines the average net price for low-income students in every state at both public four-year colleges and community colleges. He also created two additional scenarios—a worker returning to college after 10 years in the labor force making median earnings by race, and a student paying the average net price nationally and taking on student debt—to see how this benchmark holds up for the average student, by race.