ASU learns that admission and tuition practices favor 'better-off' families. They are not alone. | Arkansas Blog

Saturday, March 3, 2018

ASU learns that admission and tuition practices favor 'better-off' families. They are not alone.

Posted By on Sat, Mar 3, 2018 at 8:41 AM

click to enlarge THE RICH GET RICHER: Consultant finds admiission and tuition practices at ASU favor "better-off" families. ASU is not alone in Arkansas higher education.
  • THE RICH GET RICHER: Consultant finds admiission and tuition practices at ASU favor "better-off" families. ASU is not alone in Arkansas higher education.
Arkansas State University is studying ways to be more "efficient" — make more money, in other words — and a Democrat-Gazette report this morning carried a nugget that should not be missed.

The article quotes Nick Kozlov of the Huron Consulting Group about enrolling, keeping and graduating more students

The largest opportunity in enrollment management, Kozlov said, was in ASU-Jonesboro's discounts strategy.

"What was notable to us was that the net tuition revenue — so this was after the sticker price of tuition and the price that students ultimately pay once they get on campus — was lowest of the peer set," he said. "Jonesboro has the lowest out-of-state tuition as well, and ultimately discounts its tuition by about 44 percent to students on campus."

The consultants dove deeper into the discounts data, comparing it with expected family contributions, and found that ASU-Jonesboro was awarding financial aid on a first-come, first-served basis to students who demonstrate merit through test scores.

"What we see in practice is that those students that come from better-off families that are more able to pay are the students that have higher test scores and also apply earlier," he said. "And so they are receiving the highest amount of aid, and what that ends up doing is leaving less aid for those students who are more in need and ultimately decreases retention when they cannot consistently afford college."

Changing the way the four-year university awards aid could pull in between $1 million and $3.5 million, he said.

Shorter: Thems that got get. The rich get richer.

This is an old story encouraged by Arkansas policymakers and legislators. When you place emphasis on higher achieving students the facts dictate that poorer students will disproportionately be left behind. And minority students will make up a disproportionate percentage of that number.

The University of Arkansas grants tuition breaks to high-achieving out-of-state students. Thus Texas-Fayetteville. I doubt we are welcoming hordes of tired, poor bedraggled masses from Plano and Highland Park yearning to breathe the free air of Fayetteville.

The biggest scandal is the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery, rigged by the efforts of Sen. Jimmy Hickey a few years ago to further benefit the already advantaged higher income families.  A high-stakes ACT test — and no longer grades — is the admission standard for lottery scholarships. The amount of money tiven to first-year students was also reduced. Oh, sure, the money can go up later, depending on academic performance, but poverty tends to be a huge factor in early college dropouts.

I did one analysis of the new rules a little over a year ago. It should have been a scandal, but no one, except Sen. Joyce Elliott, seemed to care.

The new rules produced a general drop in applications — 10 percent among whites and 40 percent among blacks. The actual lottery awards showed similar declines — 8 percent among whites, 36 percent among blacks.

The family income for winners rose from $78,000 to $84,000 — with black winners averaging $42,000 and white winners averaging $94,000.

There's been some tinkering since, particularly to help community college students, but Huron's study serves to illustrate the pervasive favoritism enjoyed by better-situated students when it comes to higher education.

Many legislators, of course, thinks this is fair. Strictly merit, see. They give no thought that merit might be more about the good fortune of birth — racial and economic privilege and a background unmarked by generations of discrimination.

Two things:

* Grades are a better indication of college success than test scores. Tests measure test-taking ability.

* Lottery scholarship programs in most states have become middle-class entitlement programs. Legislators like it. The middle class — far more influential than the poor — like it. We should just be happy that the Arkansas legislature hasn't lifted the qualifying standard even higher. (See Georgia, where a 26 ACT now gets you a free Georgia college ride.)

* Lifting college completion rates is not about providing more money to kids who were going to college anyway, it's about helping those most in need of help. This is not a belief much in favor these days in any aspect of Arkansas government. See: Poor people don't "deserve" government health care; wealthy corporations and six-figure executives at chambers of commerce "deserve" government tax handouts.

Now I've gone and riled myself up. Got to go to the gym.

Tags: , , , , ,


Comments (3)

Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • One dead, two wounded in early morning shooting

    KARK's Susanne Brunner reports that one person has been killed and two wounded in a shooting shortly after 1 a.m. this morning near Roosevelt Road and Cross Street.
    • Apr 17, 2019
  • Reality bites at Little Rock City Hall; spending must be cut

    A followup to Rebekah Hall's earlier report on Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr.'s announcement that cuts will be necessary in the city budget in part to pay for "priorities," such as his desire to expand the police force, but also to deal with the reality often mentioned here of stagnant to decling city sales tax revenue. Some quick ideas on that:
    • Apr 17, 2019
  • Speaking of hard times in newspapers: Democrat-Gazette's move to digital

    Word continues to filter in of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's pullback from statewide circulation of a print daily edition of the newspaper — the latest from the Hot Springs area, just 50 or so miles down the road from Little Rock. Subscribers there were told home delivery of a print paper would end in May.
    • Apr 16, 2019
  • More »

Readers also liked…

Most Recent Comments


© 2019 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation