Centering the Margins — Low-Income Survivors


College affordability is a problem for most students, however for students from low-income families, attending college can be an even more significant challenge. Many low-income students are also the first in their families to go to college — commonly referred to as a first generation college student — who generally have fewer educational resources once entering higher education compared to other students whose parents attended college. Decisions such as transferring to a different school, how many years it takes to graduate, and other obstacles are substantial even before threats to a student’s safety.

When low-income students are sexually victimized, this experience is often negatively compounded with other challenges they are facing. Sexual victimization often comes with significant financial costs. This can include hospital bills, tuition for a semester lost or classes dropped, alternative housing arrangements, counseling expenses, among others. Students have the choice of whether to transfer, stay, or take a leave of absence. However, low-income survivors might face more restrictions in their educational options due to financial burdens. This can cause these students to be forced to choose between their mental and physical health and their education, thereby jeopardizing their college careers. The following information is intended to aid low-income survivors in understanding financial aid and student loans so that they can make affordable and informed decisions in order to continue their education.

Showcase 1

Prevalence Rates + the Cost of Rape

The cost of surviving sexual violence can be steep for survivors, including additional expenses for medical and counseling services, changes in work schedules and lost wages, and other financial burdens. Low income and poverty subject individuals to higher vulnerability of sexual violence and less access to resources afterwards.

Showcase 2

Financial Aid + Student Loan Guide

For low income students who have experienced sexual violence the school’s financial aid office could be a resource if a student is looking to take a semester off, transfer, or otherwise leave school.

Low income survivors concerns often overlap with student loans and repayment options. This provides information on different student loans and repayment options.

Showcase 3

Survivors’s Compensation Options + Resource List

Some options for assistance for low income survivors include victim’s compensation programs, and a list of organizations, websites, and groups that assist low income students and survivors.