Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Savings Account and College Retention

According to the Center for Social Development at Washington University in St. Louis, students with savings accounts in their name — regardless of the amount saved — are six times more likely to attend and remain in college compared to their peers without savings.

I recently created a series of scenarios for foster care youth (independent living activities) in which unexpected events catapoulted them into "crisis mode" -- and, in each scenario, if they had budgeted ahead of time in order to maintain a savings account, this would have saved them money and stress in the long run.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Barriers to Access for Children on Medicaid

According to the New England Journal of Medicine:

"Expansions of Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) are designed to extend access to high-quality medical care to all U.S. children. However, evidence suggests that the 37 million children covered by Medicaid–CHIP are less likely to receive specialty care than children covered by commercial insurance."

Access Disparities for Medicaid Children
Researchers have found that medical specialists are more likely to deny appointments to children with Medicaid. Assistants posed as mothers and made phone calls to 273 clinics in Cook County, IL. Only 11% of privately insured individuals were denied appointments, while 66% of the children on Medicaid were denied. 

Disparities were also present in waiting times. At the 89 clinics that accepted both insurances, there was a 42 day wait for a child on Medicaid as opposed to a 20 day wait for those with private insurance. 

Possible reasons for the differences include lower reimbursement rates for Medicaid and more problems with the payment process.

Researchers say that the results are not likely to be unique to Cook County. The study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Priced Out: How the Wrong Financial-Aid Policies Hurt Low-Income Students

According to Priced Out: How the Wrong Financial-Aid Policies Hurt Low-Income Students:

  • Since the early 1980s, college tuition and fees have increased at four times the rate of inflation—even faster than skyrocketing healthcare expenses.
  • The average low-income family must contribute an amount nearly three quarters of its annual household income each year just to send one child to a four-year college. That’s after all sources of grant aid are taken into account. 
  • After exhausting all sources of grant aid, the typical low-income student must come up with over $11,000 a year to attend a public or private nonprofit college.
  •  Meanwhile, middle-class and high-income families contribute amounts equivalent to just 27 percent and 14 percent of their yearly earnings, respectively.
College Results Online
The U.S. Department of Education's Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) enables you to create your own group of colleges to compare their graduation rates and related information.