Church-affiliated schools are among the nation’s most expensive for low-income students.
At Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., officials sometimes bring in low-income applicants and their families for counseling. The point of the sessions is not to encourage the students to attend, but to suggest they consider going somewhere cheaper.
The university needs to spend its financial aid to attract ?higher-end students,? says W. Michael Hendricks, vice president for enrollment management ? the kind of high-achieving, wealthy students that can improve a school?s prestige and bolster its bottom line. And he says the school has another, seemingly paradoxical rationale for dissuading low-income students: its Catholic identity makes the university hesitant to burden low-income families with debt. ?It totally flies in the face of our mission,? Hendricks says.
Despite such sentiment, Catholic University charges the highest net price in America for low-income students ? the cost once discounts and financial aid are taken into account ? according to a study by the New America Foundation based on information reported to the U.S. Department of Education by the institutions themselves. And they have plenty of company among peer institutions.
At a time of escalating worry over access to higher education, Catholic institutions are in the uncomfortable position of comprising five of the 10 most expensive private universities for low-income students, and 10 of the top 28, the study found.
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