The Value of Higher Education

Ruben Zamudio English 1 Section 1739 Dr. Garnica Assignment 1 The Value of a Higher Education As the predecessor for success in America since the 1970s, college is questioned more and more this generation whether its stature is essential for socioeconomic mobility. What once was seen as the eroding force of class divisions has sadly become the reason for its fortification. This eroding force does however give a pleasant image of a better life with a higher earning career at hand.

The instability of the nation’s economy has made it difficult for students of low-income class to get access to colleges and universities and surpass the invisible barriers that hold them back from achieving the American dream every citizen has. One major drawback for access to higher education can be focused directly on the nation. Since the tragic incident of 9/11, our nation’s spending towards defense has dramatically increased. What does that mean? Not enough dollars are going towards what matters most: education.

The Bush’s administration’s 2007 budget proposed the largest cut to federal education funding since the twenty-six years of existence for the Education Department—a loss of $2. 1 billion. This cut meant that schools and colleges throughout the nation had to compete more than ever for proper funding from the government, both at the state and federal level. As resources are being stripped from schools, struggling students will only continue to struggle, while students with money and resources continue to add on to the legacy that has preceded them.

This information does not include another economic sector that has made it difficult for students to access higher education, the ever-growing cost of college tuition. “College tuition has increased 66% beyond inflation within the last ten years, and 26% at private institutions”. Higher education was looked at to further the knowledge of our nation’s citizens, to expand and better what we had, but due to the difficulty of accessing it, all we continue to do is increase the gap of class stratification.

Gary Rhoades of the Center of the Future of Higher Education stated, “Our current policy path, of continued cuts in state support and continued increases in tuition will only increase the stratification in the future”. This is an adverse trend, as our nation is in dire demand for more educated graduates and workers, not fewer. Yet, policymakers continue to steer their focus away from increasing access to schools, and making it that much harder for students who struggle already. In the world we live in today, money is the motive and the drive.

Elementary and post secondary schools with a high property tax are two linked reasons for the inequality of education. Schools rely heavenly on property tax revenue using as much as half for funding. A report done by Daphne A. Kenyon, a member at the Lincoln Institute, displayed the correlation of property tax and school funding of seven states: California, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Texas, Ohio, New Jersey, and Michigan, with “Massachusetts ranks the highest and California the lowest, according to the respective property tax relief and school funding principles presented in the reports. This report associates itself with the most educated states in the country, with Massachusetts being one of the most educated and California being one the lowest. Giving you an idea how this source of revenue actually helps the students in the long run, getting a higher quality of education, as schools are able to buy more materials for the classrooms, and pay for workshops which could improve teachers. Educational value depends on the educational spending in students and institutions, as does the quality.

This inequality for students enforces class stratification, as students who receive better quality of teaching throughout their academic career, will be better prepared for colleges and universities and the workforce ahead. As these students leave a form of legacy behind them in their alma mater, access for their children will be easier, as children with parents who’ve attended college are more likely to go than those with parents who have not. Unfortunately for those who receive poor quality education, their mobility will be limited than what it should be, ignoring general income as a factor.

Students with lower income have always trailed behind their affluent colleagues in school performance, not saying that they cannot advance, but the way the system is being operated against them. Universities have grown selective in their admission process, aiming towards students with higher incomes, as they contribute and pay more than those with lower income. A trend that has continued to grow and debated about is the acceptance of out-of-states students over in-states students.

Populated states with tight higher education budgets have grown to rely on out-of-state students due to their higher tuition payments to help sustain the schools. Another issue that universities and institutions present is the administration blight. A 2010 study has shown that administrators have grown 39% per 100 students compared to professors, researchers, and other staff members, who have only grown 18% per 100 students. Schools need more professors and researchers, not administrators, who make an average of $390,000 a year.

This steers universities’ mission away from providing a proper education and more and giving those in higher power more power. Full time professors and researchers are being replaced, and do not have time to perform research to further the advancement of knowledge. Despite the numbers flown around everywhere, what you earn from a college degree is in fact beneficial to a person. Those with a post secondary education will genuinely earn a bout 64% more than someone with just a high school degree or a drop out ($1053 vs. 638 earned a month). The earning gap in today’s society has been the highest since 1915, and in today’s economy, you need to have that stable income to be ready for whatever policies and laws and raises in tax rates that the country might throw at you. So attending college will definitely have it’s advantage, most of the times. Although attaining and completing your post secondary education, the work field will not always guarantee you a job solely due to a degree.

Post secondary education has taken it share of hits from legislators and policymakers, but this should not affect the access for students who are working hard to achieve a better future for themselves and potential families to come. Despite, the intense competition that has grown, post secondary is essential in the today’s world and a little competition is always healthy. Our state and national government, as well as schools and parents have to understand the importance of post secondary education for our future generations, and must find a way to restructure our budgets to help students succeed as much as possible.

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