How technology is helping two colleges bridge the affordability gap

Jovonate Cummings majored in accounting and finance at Hocking College in Nelsonville, Ohio, where one of his toughest assignments was managing his own tight budget.Cummings and his five siblings were raised by a single mom in Cleveland in a low-income household with very little money to spare to help with his college costs. During his first semester at Hocking, he says there were days when he went hungry because paying for school expenses used up money he needed for food. Despite those challenges, Cummings persisted in his studies, becoming the first in his family to graduate from college.“I have a whole bunch of support back at home: friends, family, you know, always supporting me no matter what I do,” Cummings says. “That’s what’s keeping me going every day.” "Unfortunately for some students, financial hardships like the ones Cummings faced can mean an end to their dreams of getting a college degree. In a January 2018 survey in of 569 applicants to a private student loan provider, nearly 55 percent said they had not acquired enough money to pay for college in the 2017-2018 academic year. Of that group, 51 percent said they dropped out of school as a result. As college planning advisor Felice Rollins points out in her online article, a significant percentage of students who drop out for financial reasons owe less than $1,000 on their tuition bills. Even those who stay in school can see their graduation delayed for lack of funds."

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