Issues in Higher Education – No 1

Inequitable Experiences Faced by Underrepresented Students

The enrollment in higher education institutions of “nation’s black undergraduate population jumped by 8.5% and Latino undergraduate rose 22%” (Roach, 2013). These students, however, face many obstacles with enrollment. For example, these students may not be able to continue their study until graduation as they may not be able to afford tuition (Roach, 2013). Underrepresented students still face critical issues when they go to community college too. A conversation with an Associate Provost and Dean of Student Affairs at a community college revealed a major issue of community college students is completion (Anonymous, personal communication, February 2, 2015). Students, particularly minorities, start and stop school multiple times during their academic life. “The college graduation rate is only 17%,” the provost said. The provost added that since 90% of the students go to work, some students quit to go to a job and others quit because they do not have money to continue education. Following the article by Campbell, Deil-Amen, and Rios-Aguilar (2015), which discussed issues related to financial aid and Pell grants, community colleges are not doing well in promoting equity among students. Rich students have better opportunities to pay their tuitions and purchase their materials on time (Campell et al., 2015). Another issue is that diverse setting of students would require a diverse setting of staff and faculty to better serve these students. For example, the number of Latinos attending community college is increasing, which require finding educators and staff who speak Spanish to meet the need of these students.

References

Campbell, C. A., Deil‐Amen, R., & Rios‐Aguilar, C. (2015). Do financial aid policies unintentionally punish the poor, and what can we do about it? New Directions for Community Colleges, 2015(172), 67-76. doi:10.1002/cc.20164

Roach, R. (2013, July 24). Report: Steady college enrollment growth for underrepresented minorities, college completion rates increasing more slowly. Diverse. Retrieved from http://diverseeducation.com/article/54837/

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