Presently many low-income students find it difficult to receive a college education. Julian Omidi examines the difficulties these low income students face in their pursuit of higher education.
The Challenges Faced By Low-Income Students
While it is generally believed that education is a great equalizer, it is disheartening that many students in poor communities are unable to achieve their four-year degree.
A college degree is an achievement that is difficult to obtain without a network of support. While many affluent students have a two-parent household offering them the help and guidance that they need to succeed, many poorer children do not have that kind of stable home structure, and find it difficult to cope with stresses and academic rigors unsupported.
Less than 30 percent of bottom-income high school students enroll in four-year college or university, and less than half of that number graduates. The demands placed on students from poorer families are too high for many to bear, and even universities that have programs and financial aid for low-income students often come up short.
Women often find great difficulties in being away from familiar communities. While high-income students do not tend to believe that they are sacrificing their family obligations in favor of an education, many poor students do, and feel as though their family and friends think that their pursuit of a college degree is somehow abandoning their roots. Many of the girls who go off to college far away from home that have boyfriends who lack the same ambitions feel the additional stresses of maintaining a relationship with someone who doesn’t offer any real help.
The anxiety of the lack of a safety net puts pressures on poor students that prosperous students do not have to feel—they do not have to make the choice of missing valuable working hours in favor of class or study time with the looming possibility that they won’t make rent. The stress of academic failure and eviction is something that can erode scholastic performance very easily.
The Divide Between High-Income and Low-Income
While there are racial disparities in college graduation rates, economic disparities are even more pronounced. Only a few decades ago, the percentage difference between high-income and low-income Americans with Bachelor’s degrees was 31 percentage points. Today it is 45 percentage points. The cost of public university tuition has risen 60 percent in the last twenty years, and poor students increasingly believe it might be preferable to work post-high school than to accumulate tens of thousands of dollars in debt for a college education. 
There are no easy solutions to this growing problem, but it is imperative that students with the talent, desire and ability do not have to choose between an education and the necessities of life—especially since it is becoming ever more obvious that a degree will soon be one of those necessities.
By Julian Omidi
 DeParle, Jason: For Poor, Leap to College Often Ends in a Hard Fall New York Times 12/22/2012 http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/23/education/poor-students-struggle-as-class-plays-a-greater-role-in-success.html?ref=education&pagewanted=all