Inside Higher Ed covers a recent report issued by the Center for Community College Student Engagement which revealed that up to half of community college students are concerned that lack of sufficient financial support could end up causing them to abandon their programs of study prior to completion.
“We can have all kinds of academic supports in place, but if we don’t come alongside them in this way also and help support them … it won’t matter how much else we do to prop them,” said Evelyn Waiwaiole, director of the center.
As surveys go, this had a very large sample size - close to 100,000 students across 177 institutions - so the findings are likely to represent broader concerns across the community college attending population. Many of the respondents, particularly those with children, are living check to check with 60% responding that they would have difficulty coming up with $500 to meet an unexpected need. Other key findings include:
  • 90% of respondents need information about financial assistance
  • Pell Grant recipients generally aspire towards associates, rather than bachelors, degrees
  • 27% cite the financial information they receive from their institution as inadequate
  • More than half of respondents report trouble in keeping up with bills...
  • ...however 75+% of students feel that they have the necessary skills to manage their finances.
Broton said there are some things colleges can do in the short-term to help students who are struggling financially like by using emergency grant aid. “That’s making a big difference in the lives of students, but it’s a short-term fix,” she said. “We need to be thinking about the total cost of attendance, not just tuition and fees. There’s been a lot of awareness and evidence that tuition and fees have been rising over time, but we need to be increasing awareness that the cost of living, transportation, child care costs and other things have been rising significantly over time as well and that’s a large share of the cost of college.”
Affordability isn't the "topic du jour" on college campuses, it's quite real and impacting millions of students (and likely an order of magnitude greater number of graduates and no longer enrolled students without degrees through student loan debt).  It's a critical reason why Junction's off-the-shelf courses are priced below $50 - and the 2017 prices are the same as the 2016 prices.

By the way the 2016 prices were the same as the 2015 prices.  Oh, and the 2015 prices were the same as the 2014 prices (when we launched).  So our annual average price increase over four years has been exactly zero percent.  The onus is on all of us serving this population to not only continue to strive towards delivering affordable solutions, but the products and services we make available need to get better and better each year -- without raising prices.

Junction is proud to lead the way in this regard helping 90+% of enrolled students complete courses with superior learning outcomes at the same two pizzas and a six-pack pricing we've had since launch.  If affordability is an issue on your campus, feel free to drop us a line and we'll try to help. Financial insecurity could keep some community college students from completing