Posts Tagged ‘higher educational attainment’

Alabama ranked 9th in poverty statistics

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

16.6 percent of Alabamians lived in poverty last year, according to newly released 2009 US Census Data. This puts us ninth in nationwide rankings of poverty rates.

During that same time, 25.8 percent of children in Alabama lived in households below the poverty line.

The poverty threshold measures household income to determine who lives in poverty. In 2009, the poverty line was $22,050/year for a family of 4, or $10, 830 for an individual.

The numbers of people living in poverty have increased due to unemployment and the recession, says Kristina Scott, executive director of the Alabama Poverty Project. The numbers of the working poor have grown, while the middle class is shrinking.

This trend is evident in the statistics of those subsisting just above the poverty line.  23.9 percent of Alabamians live at or below 125 percent of poverty, and 30.6 percent of Alabamians live below 150 percent of poverty. This means that nearly 1 in 3 of our neighbors in 2009 made the equivalent of less than $33,075 for a household of four.

Single mothers have also struggled during the recession. A staggering 51.2 percent of single female-headed households with related children lived below the federal poverty line. 68.8 percent of single-female-headed households with children lived at only 150 percent of the poverty line during the same time.

Food banks and food assistance programs have reported a dramatic increase in first-time visitors and working families who seek aid, while applications for TANF and food stamps have increased dramatically during the recession.

At the same time, Alabama has weathered the recession better than some of our neighbors, and over the past 10 years we have made significant steps to reduce poverty.

What can you do?

Short term:

  • Support economic development efforts. Job loss is the number one factor in increasing poverty rates.
  • Advocate for policies that offer temporary assistance, as well as policies to create more jobs
  • Help struggling friends and neighbors through trying times. Strong relationships are key to rising out of poverty.
  • Donate to support local assistance programs providing immediate relief

Long term:

Posted by Robyn Hyden

Reducing poverty through higher education

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

In today’s Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity, Dr. Michelle Asha Cooper of IHEP notes some of the benefits to increasing college access for low-income young adults. At the same time, she’s realistic about the obstacles that remain:

“Obtaining a college degree or other advanced credential has proven to be a critical factor in producing both individual and societal benefits. It is often education that breaks generational cycles of poverty. Yet it is troubling to know that 1 in 10 impoverished young adults who have a postsecondary degree still fail to immediately get out of poverty.

This is an alarming trend because these students already face greater academic and financial risks than their more well-off peers when attempting to complete college.

Who are these low-income young adults? According to our recent report at the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP), A Portrait of Low-Income Young Adults in Education, there are 35.2 million low-income young adults in the United States who are between the ages of 18 and 26, and whose parents’ income or their own (if financially independent) is up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level.

…For many low-income young adults, pursuing a college degree involves taking bold steps toward bridging education, careers, and employment. And from a national perspective, higher education success among poor young people puts us closer to achieving our national college completion goals or enjoying the anticipated economic boost that a more educated workforce will generate.”

Asha Cooper adds that young adults with a college degree still face many obstacles: degree values vary, local labor markets fluctuate, and the economic recession may hinder job availability. However, she says, an increasing number of jobs in the future will rely on secondary degrees – and a college degree is still the fastest route out of poverty.

What can we do to increase college access here in Alabama?

Our Higher Education Alliance will address this issue at our Lifetime of Learning Conference, September 17 at Auburn University Montgomery. We’ll bring together presentations on college access, student retention, and service-learning with some of the most engaged and creative people from colleges and universities across the state.

Learn about models of community outreach and service-learning that are making an impact today.

  • Christianna Russell of Auburn’s Loachapoka partnership will present the K-12 and community initiatives connecting Loachapoka families to the Auburn campus.
  • Cindy Walker of Faulkner will talk about connecting student athletes to at-risk kids in the community in a mentoring and service-learning partnership.
  • Athens State will present best practices for implementing a Success program in a local middle school.

Higher education faculty, staff, students, and other community partners are invited. Check out more of our scheduled agenda here. Be sure to register by August 31 for the early-bird registration rate. Contact Hannah Selles for more information.

Posted by Robyn Hyden

Spotlight webcasts on education and poverty

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

If you haven’t checked out the excellent Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity, we highly recommend it. They offer great resources on poverty in the U.S.

Recently they posted these Spotlight discussions on education reform, educational equity, and poverty:

Spotlight Webcast: Education, Equity and Poverty from Spotlight on Vimeo.

Spotlight Webcast: Education Reform and Poverty from Spotlight on Vimeo.

Posted by Robyn Hyden

Save money on college, tip 11

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

Via 25 Tips to Afford College – graduate early

Saving for college tax-free

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

Via 25 Tips to Afford College

Another good resource: Individual Development Accounts from the United Way

Afford college, tip 9

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

Via 25 Tips to Afford College

Affording college – FAFSA is key

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

More advice from 25 Tips to Afford College:

Paying for college, tip 7

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

Via 25 Tips to Afford College:

25 Tips to Afford College – #6

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

Via 25 Tips to Afford College