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People in poverty are struggling to finish college

Students preparing to graduate.
Students graduating at Harvard Business school. Photo: Rick Friedman/rickfriedman.com/Corbis via Getty Images

More students than ever from both rich and poor socioeconomic backgrounds are attending college out of high school, reports the New York Times. However, a new study in the journal Demography reveals that the gap between rich and poor graduates continues to grow wider with only 11.8% of children born in the 1980's from poor backgrounds actually graduating.

Why it matters: Hourly wages for those with Bachelor's degrees has risen over $30 since 2015, according to the study, while those who haven't completed college have an hourly wage below $20 on average.

By the numbers:

  • Wages for people who haven't finished college have decreased by 2% since 2000, per the economic policy institute.
  • Wages for college graduates have increased by 6% in that same timespan.
  • The wealthiest people in the country born in the 1980's have a graduation rate of 60.1%

Go deeper: Many states have cut university funding, causing schools to enroll less poor and middle class students.