The Obama administration has a long list of reasons to get students to graduate, but the most commonly cited one is the chance to work in the financial services industry.
But there are some other factors at play.
According to the Office of Financial Aid, more than 1 in 5 graduates from high school, or more than 22 million, have never worked in financial services, including a third who never got any work experience at all.
More than one-quarter of those who received financial aid from the Education Department were from families with no prior financial need, including the poorest and least-educated students.
So how do these students make it in?
A recent survey by the Brookings Institution, a nonpartisan research and policy organization, looked at the financial aid received by a sample of students who attended four of the nation’s most prestigious public high schools.
More of those students had graduated from a school with the lowest median financial need than from a public high school with a higher median financial needs.
That’s a big difference.
The study found that students who graduated from the top schools received an average of $5,099, or $1,037 more than their classmates who didn’t go to one of the most prestigious schools.
The average income of students in the bottom 10% of students receiving aid was just $1.17, or about $100 less than students in top 10% families.
The Brookings study, which surveyed students who were enrolled at more than 2,500 public high-schools across the country, also found that graduates from public high high schools with the worst financial need had median income of $6,094.
The median income for students with the highest financial need was $32,542.
At some schools, the median income wasn’t even the top-end of the income spectrum.
A number of schools, including Emory University, Stanford University, Harvard University and New York University, were in the top 10th percentile of students.
At Harvard, students in financial need were not just among the worst students but also among the wealthiest.
Students with financial needs earned $5.75 million, or a little more than $18,000 per year.
More than 1,500 students were in financial hardship at the University of Michigan, where students with financial need earned $13,066 per year, or an average annual income of more than twice that of the poorest students in that school.
The University of Pennsylvania, where financial need students earned $19,821, was the worst-performing public high college in the country.
Many of these students had parents who were either working or who were part of the middle class.
The income disparity was even more pronounced at private colleges, with students with a median income in the range of $32 to $68,000, far lower than in the public high and higher-performing schools.
In some cases, students from poorer families were not even eligible for financial aid at all, according to the study.
Some of the lowest-income students at a number of colleges were not eligible for Pell grants, or subsidized Stafford loans, which can cover the cost of college.
There are some ways that students from lower income backgrounds can get help from public school.
Students from families making less than $30,000 can take advantage of the federal Opportunity Scholarship Program, which is open to students who have earned a bachelor’s degree.
This program gives some students $10,000 to cover their tuition and fees.
Some students, however, may need to get help with tuition and other costs.
For example, students who are in families making up to $75,000 a year, including single parents, can qualify for the College for All Students, which also offers loans for tuition, fees and room and board at private institutions.
It’s also possible to receive financial aid through private scholarships, which are available to students from any income level.
According the Education Opportunity Grant, the federal financial aid program, students with high family incomes are eligible for grants that can cover tuition, room and charge, as well as room andboard.
Students in families earning $75 or more are also eligible for free tuition at public colleges, as long as they meet certain criteria, including not being part of a single parent household.
The Brookings study also looked at how well the financial needs of students at certain schools were reflected in their schools.
For students who needed financial help to graduate from a top-ranked school, the students with lower financial needs graduated from schools with a lower median income than those with a greater median income.
But even when those students needed financial aid to graduate and still went to the most expensive public high, students still tended to graduate with a slightly higher median income, which was closer to that of their non-financial peers.
So while students with low financial needs in some schools may not have been eligible for aid from Pell grants and private scholarships or a federal Pell program, there were