David Snyder

Give up now? New research on sending the right message on college

What impact does the cost of college—and kids' perception of their ability to afford higher education—have on our kids? Is their motivation, outlook, and achievement affected?

A new study in the journal Psychological Science looks at this question. As reported in the Learning First Alliance's Public School Insights blog, the study found that low-income kids who were provided with financial aid information had a "more open mindset to their future" than either kids provided with information on the high cost of college or no information at all. Although not especially surprising, the findings do underline the benefits of providing information on such options to kids and, more broadly, of making higher education more accessible to all students.

Kevin Carey at The Quick and the Ed (always a good source for higher-ed policy insights) posted Monday on the ever-increasing level of panic among new parents, noting media reports that "college will eventually become so expensive that parents need to to start socking money away from pretty much the moment their eyes first lock across a crowded restaurant."

Have we created a climate that ultimately discourages high achievement by making the cost of advancement seem impossibly high? With stories like this out there, educators can help stem the fear by supporting kids with information and guidance. Higher education isn't easy to finance for many folks, but neither is it completely out of reach. (The larger policy question of how to actually make higher education more affordable is a topic for another post.)

Do your students feel college is unattainable? What can be done to fight this perception?

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