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.
JFI’s interactive map, regions in America’s West have little-to-no access to an institution of higher education, compared to the East Coast.’ data-reactid=”17″>Specifically, as detailed by JFI’s interactive map, regions in America’s West have little-to-no access to an institution of higher education, compared to the East Coast.
“One of the major takeaways when you’re looking at the map is the staggering amount of populated areas that are considered highly concentrated,” Laura Beamer, higher education finance project lead at JFI and one of the two authors of the study, told Yahoo Finance. “We figured out that roughly 2.4 million prospective students have access to most one public option nearby … Though financial access is extremely important, geographic access is also a very important piece of this dialogue and should be talked about more.”
The Rocky Mountain region “is the worst off,” the report added, “followed closely by the Plains region.”
The JFI report — which drew on various points of data from the 2016-17 Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, enrollment data from 2017, the 2016 5-year population, and median income estimates from the American Community Survey, driving durations to higher ed institutions in the area, zip codes, and more — created a “School Concentration Index” which measures the variation across the higher education market across different types of schools in the U.S. and U.S. territories.
Four states — Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, and Wyoming — were found to have higher education institution monopolies or close to it, meaning that there is only one institution or very few schools to choose from.
The authors found that a highly concentrated zip code (in red) means that there are few — or in some cases zero — higher education institutions in the area. A low concentration implies that there are a wide variety of options available for prospective students.
In the U.S., 38% of the population lives in highly concentrated zip codes, where they have access to very few or no higher education institutions, according to Beamer and her co-author Marshall Steinbaum, who is also an assistant professor of economics at the University of Utah. If a student from these areas wanted to attend a college or university, their commute would be at least 45 minutes.
The unequal access has wide-ranging implications for prospective students, most of them negative.
Parts of the U.S. where there’s “little to no access” to a higher ed institution “are prime hunting ground for for-profit institutions, just as they are known to draw disproportionately from populations historically excluded from traditional higher ed on the basis of race and class,” the authors argued.
pushed the University of Phoenix to put a stop to deceptive advertising of lucrative job opportunities.’ data-reactid=”72″>The Obama administration’s crackdown on for-profit colleges led to several closures, and recent action by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) pushed the University of Phoenix to put a stop to deceptive advertising of lucrative job opportunities.
Despite government action, for-profits persist due to these gaps in availability.
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