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Politics

Report Calls for Aiding Low-Income Students at State Colleges

September 28, 2016 - 10:00pm

While Florida has one of the best state college systems in the country, a new report from the LeRoy Collins Institute says the colleges can do better, particularly in helping low-income and minority students pay for their educations and complete degrees.

Among the findings from the non-partisan statewide policy organization, which is housed at Florida State University:

  • While 60 percent of the students entering Florida's 28 state colleges are low-income or academically disadvantaged, they graduate at lower rates than other students.
  • Many students don't qualify for merit-based scholarships, like Bright Futures, underscoring the importance of more need-based aid.
  • State support for the colleges is roughly $1,000 below the national average for per-student funding.
  • Colleges that evolved from institutions focusing almost exclusively on local priorities now find themselves "caught in the middle between local and statewide priorities." State colleges were formerly known as community colleges, with a handful still retaining community college names.
  • There are “mixed results” in the analysis of whether the college graduates are meeting the workforce needs of the state.

"The Florida college system is an essential part of Florida's higher education landscape and has been doing an exemplary job," said Carol Weissert, director of the Collins Institute and an FSU political scientist. "However, there are challenges for the (system) that should be acknowledged."

One of the positives for the Florida colleges, which serve more than 800,000 students and offer programs ranging from vocational preparation to bachelor's degrees, is that Florida has one of the highest three-year graduation rates in the country.

Florida was ranked third in the nation with a 48 percent three-year graduation rate, compared to a 29 percent national rate, based on 2010 data, the report showed.

The report also notes state college enrollment is growing and has become more diverse over time, providing access for a large number of low-income students. It has led to greater degree production, helping Florida raise the percentage of its residents who have college degrees, although the state lags the national average.

But the report also notes not all students "appear to be making gains in terms of both enrollment and completion at equal rates."

"For instance, black students show a much slower increase in completion rates than is the case for enrollment rates," the report said. "Put differently, it appears as though more black students may be entering the (system), but are not completing at the same rates as other race/ethnicities."

Another concern raised by the report is that Florida's emphasis on merit-based scholarships might be hurting state college students. On average, Florida devotes 25 percent of its higher-education grants to need-based programs, compared to a national average of 48 percent, the report said.

The impact is reflected in the merit-based Bright Futures awards, where only 4.4 percent of the 42,000 scholarships in the highest category, known as "academic scholars," go to state college students.

The report notes some of the deficit in need-based aid can be made up from federal programs, like Pell grants, while arguing there are still unmet needs.

"Given the percentage of children living in low-income households in Florida, which far exceeds the national average, the state must be particularly cognizant how its educational policies affect these populations," the report said.

In response to the report, the state Board of Education, which oversees the 28 colleges, recently changed its formula for determining performance-based funding to include a measurement that recognize colleges serving large numbers of low-income students.

Comments

Why do we cater to marxist ideas? Wealth redistribution at the end of a gun for ANY purpose is wrong. College is not a right. It is a privilege. Stop stealing from some to support the lifestyles of others.

C Breeze, thank poorly paid teachers for your questionable ability to read, analyze, and write consistent with facts and law. Thank you for proving your ignorance. Proofread your sub-par attempt at analytical writing. Your ridiculous claim a college professor at our Florida state colleges making $35 net to go teach a class is "overpaid" simply confirms the "twit" here is you. I receive amazing teaching evaluations and train activists and union leaders now for the Cornell University Worker Institute and yes we educators are organizing Florida state colleges and public and private universities. "Overpaid" are the 131 incompetent and arrogant admin at IRSC making over $100,000 a year at last count. That's more than at the US Attorneys Office for the district. The corrupt rackets in Florida are now being investigated by Justice. Thanks for engaging. Let me know when you'd like another debate lesson.

AHA "doctor"!!! You are without doubt a so-called "educator". But as Willie Shakes says: "Methinks thou doth protest too much !" (Oh, how I would like to debate the likes of you and your alleged "learned" ilk !)

C Breeze, thank poorly paid teachers for your questionable ability to read, analyze, and write consistent with facts and law. Thank you for proving your ignorance. Proofread your sub-par attempt at analytical writing. Your ridiculous claim a college professor at our Florida state colleges making $35 net to go teach a class is "overpaid" simply confirms the "twit" here is you. I get amazing teaching evaluations and train activists and union leaders now for an Ivy League university and yes we are organizing Florida state colleges and public and private universities. "Overpaid" are the 131 incompetent admin at IRSC making over $100,000 a year at last count. That's more than at the US Attorneys Office for the district. The corrupt rackets in Florida are now being investigated by Justice. Thanks for engaging. Let me know when you'd like another debate lesson.

C Breeze, thank poorly paid teachers for your questionable ability to read, analyze, and write consistent with facts and law. Thank you for proving your ignorance. Proofread your sub-par attempt at analytical writing. Your ridiculous claim a college professor at our Florida state colleges making $35 net to go teach a class is "overpaid" simply confirms the "twit" here is you. I get amazing teaching evaluations and train activists and union leaders now for an Ivy League university and yes we are organizing Florida state colleges and public and private universities. "overpaid" are the 131 incompetent admin at IRSC making over $100,000 a year at last count. That's more than at the US Attorneys Iffice for the district. The corrupt rackets in Florida are now being investigated by Justice. Thanks for engaging. Let me know when you'd like another debate lesson.

The "wealth" that ALL colleges have amassed over the past half century is embarrassing, thanks to students, their families, Federal and State grants, as well as "alumni extortion" and "sports priorities". There are NO POOR COLLEGES,.. just look at the extensive 'land purchases and building construction going on at almost ALL colleges across this country; all due to "dumbed down" and "creative" major/minor class offerings to students who barely "escaped" High School. Add to that "Affirmative Action", the decades-long "darling" of college Administrators, that provided us with a "half baked political class" that all wanted to be lawyers and "brain surgeons" but were, by & large, illiterate and math-deficient, and so became "Educators" to avoid the Viet Nam military draft, and now hate America for diverting their intent to "operate on brains". BUT ALL of this nonsense DID make colleges $RICH$ and insensitive to the legitiment 'education' of their students (don't believe it???..Just ask a student, even a graduate student, a 'Civics' question.. then walk away trying not to laugh and shake your head at the answer you get). "Student Loans" are now the sole realm of the Federal government (for "guess what"?=PROFIT), and college administrators have already created imaginative ways to "double down" on tuition payments in order to continue the massive largesse ($) they are using to amass land and enlarge their campus domain. DO yourself a favor and send your child to learn a trade and remember the old joke: When the Plumber gave the Doctor his bill for for the Plumber's work, the Doctor said "Wow, I don't even make this kind of money, and I'm a doctor !" To which the Plumber replied: "I didn't make this kind of money either, when I was a Doctor."

Analyze and aid the 75% of Florida state college faculty making poverty level wages without representation or benefits. Florida's professors and teachers are paid among the lowest wages in all 50 states and that must change immediately. See: People of the State of Florida v. Rick Scott, et. al. for rampant violations of law in Florida's state college system particularly at Indian River State College which has the worst president and administration I've witnessed in 28 years of educational leadership. Ask students and faculty instead of relying on overpaid incompetent administrators who evidence shows clearly violate the law. Florida state college faculty are organizing. Training available online thru the Cornell University Worker Institute. Triple adjunct pay and slash bloated state college admin who file false insider reports like these that contradict the evidence. The state college district response---take the Fifth and refuse to answer questions.

Look!... another "little 'd' 'doctor" heard from..! (College campuses are FULL of these twits !) AND see him threatening: the "faculty are organizing" ! Oooo...we be sooo skeered "doctor"! ( For what you 'produce', and the illiterates you 'turn out', you're ALREADY way overpaid !)

Comments are now closed.

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