Friday, July 09, 2010

Fewer Low-Income Students Going to College

A recent report shows a decline in college enrollment and graduation of low-income students.

I know what a lot of people say..."Not everyone is college material." and "We need all kinds of workers...not just those who work at jobs with college degrees." and "People can make a better salary working some of the 'trade school' type jobs." And I agree with all of those statements.

However, I feel that every person deserves information and a choice. So, I feel a personal obligation to provide that information to the people in my network of friends and in the community where I live and work. If, equipped with the information, people choose something different than college, I'll completely support that decision.

So, the latest information out is that there are fewer low-income students going to college. Of course, when you add to that the graph I've attached at the top that shows income is directly related to education, this new report causes me great concern. I don't get the feeling that the drop in numbers of low-income people attending and graduating from college is leading to higher paying jobs for those who don't attend.

The other disturbing factor to me is my many conversations with young people who explain to me, "I can't go to college. My mom is a single mom and she can't afford it," or other misnomers that have led to low-income individuals moving on a path that doesn't involve college and usually ends them in dead-end jobs.

I understand that this report was based on 2004 numbers and that things may look different now--six years later with an economic downturn that has led even high-degreed college graduates to sit at home drawing unemployment. However, I would think an over-qualified, out-of-work executive would be much more likely to land any job (if they would be willing to take such a pay cut) over someone who was much less qualified and less skilled. Personally, I would rather be the one with the resume that demonstrates my education and experience.

To counter the myths out there about college, our Teen University at Roseland has begun doing College 101 classes. You can see the topics here...and feel free to let anyone in the Dallas area know about it. If they are willing to get there, we are willing to include them.