The Growing Gap: New NCAN Report Shows Continued Decrease in College Affordability

A new National College Access Network (NCAN) report shows that affordability is decreasing at two- and four-year public institutions across the U.S.

According to “The Growing Gap: Public Higher Education’s Declining Affordability for Low-Income Students,” just 48% of community colleges were affordable for the average Pell Grant recipient
in 2016-17, while only 27% of four-year public institutions were affordable.

Fifteen Florida institutions were included in NCAN’s sample, including 14 four-year institutions and one two-year institution. In 2016-17, 40% of Florida’s institutions included in the study were affordable overall. Among states, Florida ranked #24 in percent of affordable institutions.

Among the other key findings of the report:

  • Eight states (Arizona, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wisconsin) had no affordable four-year public institutions in any of the five academic years NCAN examined.
  • 23 states saw their percentage of affordable institutions decrease between 2012-13 and 2016-17.
  • In 25 states, the percentage of affordable community colleges decreased between 2012-13 and 2016-17.

More about the findings and links to additional resources about college affordability can be found on NCAN’s website. Along with the report, NCAN has also unveiled a new interactive dashboard that allows you to explore the affordability data at the national, state, and institutional levels. Click on a state on the map to get started.

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