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Community Colleges in Washington, D.C. area attracting more affluent students

 
The Washington Post
 
Julie Hong grew up in the sort of leafy Montgomery County suburb where college is assumed. Her parents had saved for the expense since she was a baby. When the time came, they said she could go wherever she wished. She chose a community college.

Comparatively affluent students are picking community colleges over four-year schools in growing numbers, a sign of changing attitudes toward an institution long identified with poorer people.

A recent national survey by Sallie Mae, the student loan giant, has found that 22 percent of students from households earning $100,000 or more attended community colleges in the 2010-11 academic year, up from 12 percent in the previous year. It was the highest rate reported in four years of surveys.

In the lengthening economic downturn, even relatively prosperous families have grown reluctant to borrow for college. Schools are finding that fewer students are willing to pay the full published price of attendance, which tops $55,000 at several private universities. More students are living at home.

Community college leaders in the Washington region don’t ask students about family income, but they are seeing evidence of the trend. At Montgomery College in Maryland, financial aid officers have witnessed a steady increase in aid applicants from families earning $60,000 or more.
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