Many colleges raised low-income students’ tuition over wealthier ones

Xavier Roger


Even in high school, Miguel Agyei worried about how he’d pay for college.

The son of parents who work at a hospital and for UPS, Agyei wanted to go to a school away from his home state of Illinois, but that was too expensive. He instead picked close-by Bradley University and worked during the summer to pay the costs his financial aid didn’t cover.

An athlete who ran track and field, he set the university record in the 60-meter hurdles, but the conference meet that determined who would get athletic scholarships was canceled by Covid. He asked his coaches if there was money to help him buy textbooks, but they said there wasn’t. He had to get help from an advocacy group to pay his rent. To cover his other expenses, he took a job answering phones for a call center for people applying for unemployment benefits.

An athlete while he was in college, Miguel Agyei had to work to pay some of his expenses and needed help from an advocacy group to keep paying his rent as his tuition increased.

“It was very, very stressful,” said Agyei, who also borrowed $25,000 in student loans. “I would go to practice, go to class, work five or six hours, do my homework, go to bed and get up and do it again.”

Meanwhile, he noticed that his bills from the college kept going up.


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