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A lawsuit over the funding of Pennsylvania schools is in the hands of a judge, California launches a student loan debt challenge, and texts show former President Trump seeking donations after the FBI raid.


Republicans rally around former President Trump after the FBI searches his home for missing archive documents, President Biden formalizes U.S. support for Finland and Sweden joining NATO, and the FDA expands authorization of the monkeypox vaccine.


Money from last year's infrastructure bill is on its way to fix teeth-jarring roads in rural areas while farmers and ranchers anticipate money to adopt conservation measures from historic legislation via the Inflation Reduction Act, and rural America is becoming more diverse, but you wouldn't know it by looking at the leadership of rural electric cooperatives.

COVID-19 and the High Cost of College for Older Students


Thursday, August 20, 2020   

AUSTIN, Texas -- Long before the COVID-19 pandemic, college students were derailed from graduating due to the high cost of housing, food and transportation.

Now, a new study shows unexpected expenses often challenge older students to enroll and stay enrolled.

Older students, defined as those ages 25 to 45, make up nearly a third of the first-time undergraduate student body overall.

Sara Goldrick-Rab, founder of the Hope Center for College, Community and Justice, said cost estimates by some colleges can be "wildly wrong."

"There's evidence that for the for-profit colleges, when the government started holding them accountable they started lowering their costs, but they didn't lower their tuition; they just lowered the estimated cost of living while you go there," Goldrick-Rab said.

She said colleges often cite housing when they advertise that they're less expensive, even though housing costs continue to rise in nearly every state and only 15% of American undergraduates live on campus.

She said nowadays, almost one in four college students has a child, and need to factor day care into their college costs.

Other unexpected costs that can derail an older college student include changing majors, which typically requires new books and supplies.

Goldrick-Rab said students and parents usually do their homework when it comes to affordability, but explained a situation parents find themselves in all too often.

"We looked at the meal-plan prices, and we bought something we thought was affordable, and it's giving her 12 meals a week out of the 21, and she'll just fend for herself for the others, but she actually doesn't have enough money to cover the others," Goldrick-Rab said.

Goldrick-Rab added parents may think a student is saving money by living at home, but might qualify for more financial aid if they lived closer to campus.


Support for this reporting was provided by Lumina Foundation.

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