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Guidebook Suggests Best Supports for Low-Income College Students

Cost is often cited as the biggest barrier and top concern of students considering college.

On Monday, the Lumina Foundation came out with a guidebook of strategies for college administrators to improve financial support and completion success for low-income students.

Titled "Beyond Financial Aid," the publication presents six key strategies to better serve disadvantaged students and highlights promising approaches being used by colleges and universities.

In rolling out the resource, the Indianapolis-based foundation notes that nearly one-third of students have incomes low enough to qualify for federal Pell grants and many don't graduate because of financial troubles.

Lumina suggests colleges target their aid at students with the greatest financial need and provide additional support for students beyond tuition to cover housing expenses, transportation, and other living expenses.Colleges also can extend their help by leveraging external partnerships to find funding to support low-income students.

Lumina calls on institutions to review internal policies and procedures to make sure processes don't inadvertently hurt students with financial need. And to help all students complete a degree, the guidebook suggests schools look for ways to improve academic progression through college.

In another effort to expand opportunity for low-income students, The New York Times has identified colleges that are most devoted to students in financial need through its College Access Index—last year recognizing Vassar College in New York for its extensive financial aid support.

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