Like a fight on the playground, low-income students are being bullied by the higher ed institutions they long to fit in with – and no one is doing anything to stop it.
After talking personally with these students, Gary Berg has gleaned both qualitative and quantitative proof that demonstrates “how students from poor families are shortchanged at every stage of their postsecondary education, from admissions practices that discriminate against them, to the numerous obstacles they face getting through college, to the lesser benefits they reap after graduation.”
Aside from the cost of college and lack of financial resources these universities supply, the needs of admitted, low-income students are still being ignored inside the walls of the classroom.
Problems such as reading and writing at a collegiate level, along with a different “frame of reference and context for [learning] various subjects that are common knowledge to more affluent students”, prove to be challenging barriers prohibiting a fair learning environment.
Berg suggests two things colleges can do to better the enrollment for, and retention of, low-income students:
- Change the format of education to accommodate working students:
“[Appreciate] the particular challenges economically disadvantaged students face… Although colleges have adapted somewhat to students who work, they are still often extremely resistant to meeting the demands of this group.”
- Pay attention to the practical and emotional barriers to college attendance low-income students face:
“First-generation college students often also confront a greater adjustment problem in college.”
With higher education ignoring “students who… stand to gain the most from it”, schools are only hurting their reputation and falling short of their promise as an institution of secondary education (“to improve the country’s record on degree attainment”).
From the outside looking in, it’s easy to see that there are simple solutions to solve these problems. Without intervening, however, these issues risk being ignored entirely – or stuffed into a trashcan, or shoved into a locker, or… Well, you get the idea.
Read more about Berg’s higher ed recommendations.