CLASP expert Amy Ellen Duke-Benfield discusses how public benefits help low-income and nontraditional students complete their degrees, as well as what states can do to better connect their benefits and higher education policies.
This fact sheet offers a broad overview of the activities, and goals of the Benefits Access for College Completion (BACC) initiative, which was designed to help colleges develop new policies that increase low-income students' access to public benefits.
While more undergraduates are receiving student aid, the average college student still suffers from significant unmet need--the "gap" between college costs and what students can afford to pay on their own or with grant aid.
Young adults ages 18 to 34 are uninsured at almost double the rate of older adults. Community colleges, in particular, tend to enroll students who are disproportionately uninsured, including low-income students, part-time students, and minority students. And without health insurance, they risk medical or financial hardship that could prevent them from earning a college degree. Therefore, increasing health insurance coverage must be a part of the college completion agenda.