U Study Shows Barriers Economically Disadvantaged Students Face in Higher Education – Daily Utah Chronicle

by | Aug 27, 2022 | Education

Adam FondrenThe Block U on the University of Utah Campus, Salt Lake City, Utah on July 12, 2017. (Photo by Adam Fondren | Daily Utah Chronicle)
A recent Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute study on economically disadvantaged students in Utah’s higher education system shows the close correlation between income level and educational attainment and the barriers some Utahns face in pursuing higher education and improving their income level.
Economically disadvantaged students face many barriers including being more likely to work more hours per week, attend college part-time, delay enrollment, have children and family responsibilities, be a first-generation college student, be less likely to engage in academic and social experiences and utilize support services, according to the report.
(Courtesy of the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute)
Economic disadvantage is measured in various ways, but the report’s primary focus is on an individual’s family income from childhood, measured by eligibility for free or reduced-price lunch in K-12.
Deylan Gudiel, a transfer student from Brigham Young University-Hawaii who is starting at the University of Utah this fall, was eligible for free or reduced-price lunch growing up and is Pell Grant eligible.
“I think one of the most difficult things about being economically disadvantaged is seeing how all of your peers are able to progress so much faster and easier than you because of their privilege and are praised for doing so,” Gudiel said in an email interview. “It can be hard not to fall into comparison or feeling like you’re falling behind.”
Gudiel said he’s always worked while being a full-time student, which took time away from studying.
“I’ve done school part-time, full-time” he said. “I’ve taken months, even a year off to help family, work, save money, whatever I needed to do.”
Barriers to FAFSA
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