‘Education deserts’ are a staggering problem

It’s one thing to not be able to afford a college education. It’s an entirely different issue altogether when you don’t even have a college around you, writes Aarthi Swaminathan for Yahoo! Finance.

A recent report from Jain Family Institute (JFI) reveals that access to college isn’t just about the cost of college. Physical access to public higher education institutions across America has also been highly unequal. Specifically, regions in America’s West have little to no access to an institution of higher education, compared to the East Coast. Laura Beamer, higher education finance project lead at JFI and one of the two authors of the study, told Yahoo Finance: “Though financial access is extremely important, geographic access is also a very important piece of this dialogue and should be talked about more.” The unequal access has wide-ranging implications for prospective students, most of them negative.

Parts of the US where there is “little to no access” to a higher education institution “are prime hunting grounds for for-profit institutions”, the authors said. The for-profit higher education sector has seen tremendous growth since the financial crisis. In 2016, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York noted that enrolment at for-profit higher education schools had “skyrocketed” as the country emerged out of the Great Recession. For-profit colleges have also been known to saddle graduates with high levels of student debt, and in some cases, provide low-quality education with false promises of job placement.
Full report on the Yahoo! Finance site