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Conversation on Access to College for Low-Income Students

More students are going to college than ever before, but the road is rough if you are from a low-income family. Not only do you often lack the money for school, but the process of applying and getting financial aid can be daunting.

Here's are some stark statistics:

While 84 percent of high-income students enroll in college in the fall after high school, just 54 percent of those from low-income families go on to college, according to 2009 National Center for Education Statistics data. Poor students go to college at lower rates than wealthy students did 30 years ago.

By age 24, young adults from high-income families are 10 times more likely to earn a bachelor's degree than those from low-income households.

What changes should be made to improve the landscape?

On Wednesday, Aug. 17, at 2 p.m. EST, I will be moderating a free webinar, Clearing the Hurdles, Helping Low-Income Students Get Into College, to discuss the issue.

Our presenters will include Jennifer Engle, director of higher education research and policy with Education Trust, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization in Washington and co-author of Priced Out: How the Wrong Financial Aid Policies Hurt Low-Income Students. She will provide a big-picture take of the inequities in college access and how institutions and the government could make changes to level the playing field.

We will also be joined by Traci Kirtley, director of programming and evaluation, Admission Possible National, St. Paul, Minn. This innovative nonprofit is providing free support for high school students as they search and apply for college. While concentrated in the Minnesota and Wisconsin area now, the organization has plans to expand to 10 cities in the next four years.

Please join the conversation on Wednesday. It promises to be an insightful and lively discussion. Register here.

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