For many low-income students, economic trends are making the prospect of getting into the college of their choice, and reaching graduation, even more difficult. iStockphoto hide caption

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The Kalamazoo Promise, a full-tuition scholarship program announced in 2005, created a stir in the city when it launched the following year. Mark Bialek/AP hide caption

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Student loan debt forces many young adults to make hard choices about how they spend their money — and can prevent them from making investments that will pay off down the road. David Sacks/Getty Images hide caption

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It's probably not a surprise, but women are more burdened by student loan debt than men are. It starts right after college, when the wage gap begins. Emma Innocenti/Getty Images hide caption

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Colleges send each prospective student a letter detailing a financial aid award package — but many families say the letters are difficult to understand. iStockphoto hide caption

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Students from CUNY's AstroCom NYC program meet for a weekly class at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Dennis Robbins, an associate professor of science education at CUNY's Hunter College, teaches Betsy Hernandez (from left), Jaquelin Erazo, Ariel Diaz and Mario Martin. Beth Fertig/WNYC hide caption

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Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, presents a Senate report on for-profit colleges in 2012. He wants changes to the federal student loan system. J. Scott Applewhite/AP hide caption

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