Queens College serves low-income students well

After examining data from nearly 1,200 four-year colleges, Education Trust, a research and advocacy group that promotes high academic achievement for students at all levels, identified Queens College as one of only five schools that do a good job of serving low-income students.

The other schools are the Fullerton and Long Beach campuses of California State University; Baruch College, CUNY; and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Education Trust drew its conclusions from information provided by the 1,186 institutions that participate in federal Title IV financial aid programs, such as the Pell Grant and the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant.

The June 2011 report, “Priced Out: How the Wrong Financial-Aid Policies Hurt Low-Income Students,” found that an average low-income family must contribute an amount roughly equivalent to 72 percent of its annual household income each year just to send one child to a four-year college. That’s after all sources of grant aid are taken into account.

Meanwhile, middle-class and high-income families contribute amounts equivalent to just 27 percent and 14 percent of their yearly earnings, respectively.

Queens College had to meet several criteria. Four-year colleges had to cost no more than $4,600 a year after all grants for students in households earning up to $30,000 a year. In addition, the schools had to have six-year graduation rate of 50 percent or better, and at least 30 percent of their enrollments had to be Pell Grant recipients.

The three systems that the five colleges belong to also happen to have lower-than-average tuition and fees, the report noted, and the states of California, New York, and North Carolina offer more need-based financial aid per student than most others do. According to the report, the individual colleges have low prices even compared with other schools in their systems, suggesting that institutional policies play a role, too.

“In this country, higher education is crucial to achieving the American dream, but the families of many of our students are immigrants just starting out and are of modest means,” says Queens College President James Muyskens. “In many cases, our students are among the first in their families to attend college. We take great pride in making a high quality education accessible to everyone, no matter their economic situation.”

Queens College, located on a beautiful 77-acre campus in Flushing, New York, opened its doors in 1937 with the goal of offering a first-rate education to talented people of all backgrounds and financial means.

Part of the City University of New York (CUNY) since its founding in 1961, Queens College is one of CUNY’s largest senior colleges. It enjoys a national reputation for its liberal arts and sciences and professional programs, and was cited in the 2012 edition of The Princeton Review’s The Best 376 Colleges for its academic excellence and generous financial aid packages.

More than 120,000 students have graduated since the college’s first class of 1941. Our alumni include such household names as Paul Simon and Jerry Seinfeld, as well as the CEOs of major companies and leaders in the fields of medicine, education, media, the law, and politics.

The Education Trust promotes high academic achievement for students from pre-kindergarten through college. Its goal is to close the gaps in opportunity and achievement that consign young people, especially those from low-income families or who are black, Latino, or American Indian, to lives on the margins of the American mainstream. The organization focuses on students—as opposed to adults employed by schools—especially those whose needs and potential are often overlooked. Its sole purpose in evaluating policy and practice is to benefit students.