- Nov 2015
LEWONTIN, M. (2014). Loan-Forgiveness Program May Alter Scale of Student Debt. Chronicle Of Higher Education, 61(12), A12
This article discusses the 2007 College Cost Reduction and Access act which promises to forgive student loan debt for graduates who work in public-sector jobs for 10 years. With student loan debt continuously reaching an all-time high and a lack of interest in public sector careers by recent graduates, the act was designed to address both issues simultaneously. According to the article, this idea of loan forgiveness has been around since the 1950’s starting with loan forgiveness for teachers and expanding to a wide range of public sector jobs.
According to the article, the overall impact of these programs is good due to the fact that it “encourages people to pursue these low-paying but valuable careers.” However, the article points out that such programs may be problematic as they could be leaving the burden of paying off the forgiven debt on the taxpayer. The first cohort of individuals eligible for loan-forgiveness under the 2007 act will in 2017 and will not have any cap on how much money can be forgiven, according to Lewontin.
The main three main concerns addressed in the article are: 1) should there be a cap on forgiveness 2) who should be eligible, 3) what is the purpose of loan forgiveness. The article discusses some of the concerns of offering programs without caps and cites the work of the New America Foundation as the organization that first raised concerns about the issue. The overall sentiment of the article was that some type of cap restriction is necessary. The article also discusses the concern around the definition of a public servant and how it has expanded over the years opening up opportunity for many more individuals to take advantage of the programs. Lastly, the article discusses the debate around who student loan forgiveness programs should be for. Some argue that the majority of people these programs are helping are those who already have college degrees but who chose to take out more loans for advanced degrees. A Ph.D. student who was interview for the article says "People are out there claiming that graduate students are out there overspending and over borrowing, but I don't know any of these people… I don't know anybody who graduates and says, 'It's only 10 or 20 years until my loans are forgiven.’”
Hillman, N., Tandberg, D., & Gross, J. (2014). Market-Based Higher Education: Does Colorado's Voucher Model Improve Higher Education Access and Efficiency?. Research In Higher Education, 55(6), 601-625. doi:10.1007/s11162-013-9326-3
This article is about the state of Colorado’s voucher-based funding model for higher education which was put into play in 2004. The model funds students instead of institutions which is believed to drive institutions to provide better customer service and to retain students longer giving them a better chance to complete a degree or certificate program. Those opposed to the program say that this model may “reduce educational quality or even compete with other educational goals” (Hillman, 602).
The main research question examined in a study which is outlined by this article is “to what extent has the introduction of market based reforms impacted college access and cost-efficiency in Colorado?” (Hillman, 602). In order to pull this off, the state needed to change the tax model and state funding model. Higher education has historically been looked at as the “balance wheel” of the state budget, according to the article so this needed to be addressed from the get-go.
The college opportunity fund (COF) was developed in order to fund students instead of institutions, and it did so by giving them vouchers. According to the article, the proposal received great reviews and support. Within the 5 years that the study on this voucher model took place, there was an 8.2% increase in students and a 12.8% increase in total completions at the 4-year level. Additionally, there was a significant increase in students of color who attended and a 35.7% increase in completions for students who attended a 2-year community college.
The article concludes by stating that many states have been in the process of looking for more effective funding models for higher education. The model in Colorado showed significantly higher impact at the 2-year level than the 4-year level. In fact, COF increased cost efficiency and completions at the 2-year level but had little impact at the 4 year level
McKinney, L., Mukherjee, M., Wade, J., Shefman, P., & Breed, R. (2015). Community College Students’ Assessments of the Costs and Benefits of Borrowing to Finance Higher Education. Community College Review, 43(4), 329-354. doi:10.1177/0091552115594669
This article outlines a qualitative study in which community college students were asked to help shed light on what factors are considered during the decision making process of taking out a personal loan to finance one’s college education. The article goes over the study, the findings and some policy suggestions.
According to the article, “the average community college tuition remains approximately one third the cost of average tuition at a public 4-year institution” (McKinney et. al.) The article also notes that tuition is less than half of the actual cost to attend due to living expenses and even though close to 66% of all community college students receive a Pell Grant through financial aid, some students are still finding it necessary to borrow money by taking out loans in order to pay for everything that comes along with the college experience.
The article talks about the cost-benefit analysis students tend to use when making the decision to borrow money and how many students borrow money because they have mentality that the amount borrowed will pay off over time. However, some research “found that students tend to underestimate the total costs of borrowing and overestimate the amount they will earn upon entering the workforce” (Mckinney et. al.). Also, populations who are more likely to attend community college such as first generation students and students of color, are less likely to know about financial programs and money management.
The study found that there were several themes when it came to community college students and their decision to finance their education through loans. The most evident finding, according to the article was that students did not have enough information or guidance. Most students admitted to knowing “nothing” about loans prior to taking out a loan. Another major finding was that students were borrowing as a result of “need” and not “want.” Students expressed through their interviews that the Pell grant alone was simply not enough to cover all of the expenses. On a positive note, students had an optimistic outlook on borrowing because they saw the value of the importance of their education.
Some of the policy suggestions were to look at a school’s ability to prevent over-borrowing and implement safe guards for “at risk” populations who are the most likely to default on loans. This article goes in depth with large issue which is at the forefront of U.S. policy and brings up some good areas that may need some more exploring.
Everett, J. B. (2015). Public Community Colleges: Creating Access and Opportunities for First- Generation College Students. Delta Kappa Gamma Bulletin, 81(3), 52-58.
As the title suggests, this article is about creating access to higher education for first generation college students by utilizing local, community colleges. According to the article community college have been key to granting access to certain subsets of the student population who would otherwise opt out of attending college all together. These groups include, ethnic minorities, low-income students, first generation students, underprepared individual or any combination of these. There is a sense of convenience and “fit” about a community college accompanied by a more affordable cost that makes it a good choice for many first generation students but as the article states, “if these students are not retained or do not transfer, then neither the students nor the institutions have been successful” (Everett, 52).
A first generation college student, according to the article, is anyone whose parent(s) have not attended a post-secondary institution. The reasoning behind this is because students who have parents that have gone to college also have the “social capital” which accompanies their parent’s experiences. This includes the knowledge and experience to guide their student through the application process and prepare them for the cultural norms of a college atmosphere. All of this contributes to the level of access a student has to college.
The article defines “access” as “the conditions and factors that facilitate and encourage or prohibit and discourage a person from attending college” (Everett, 53). Different types of access include: financial access, geographic access, programmatic access, academic access, and cultural, social, physical access. All of these factors play a role into whether or not a student will attend college however, students in vulnerable populations who overcome these accessibility issues and enroll may still face challenges after the admissions or enrollment process. My main takeaway from the article is that open access community college are intended to give access to students who have not historically had access and they have been successful in doing so. However, colleges have struggled in retaining these students which is where society should start to focus. “Helping first-generation students obtain their educational goals is economically beneficial for both the individual and for society” (Everett, 55). Colleges need to start focusing efforts on continuously removing barriers to access and providing the services students need to be successful upon enrollment
- Oct 2015
Frempong, George, Xin Ma, and Joseph Mensah. "Access to Postsecondary Education: Can Schools Compensate for Socioeconomic Disadvantage?" Higher Education 63.1 (2012): 19-32. ProQuest. Web. 16 Oct. 2015.
In this article, the authors discuss postsecondary educational attainment and factors that may affect it such as socioeconomic status (SES) and family background. The authors cite multiple studies that took place in both the U.S and Canada dating back to the 1960’ regarding factors that affect access and attainment of a college education. The purpose of the article is to analyze access to a university education for students coming from low SES families. The authors do this by providing a literature review, outlining their measures, and presenting their results.
The authors claim that it is an undisputable fact that SES affects access to postsecondary education. One survey that is cited in the article shows “only 30% of youth in the bottom 25% of the income distribution attend university, compared to 50.2% in the top 25%” (Pg. 20). They also talk about the lack of social capital in low SES families due to the fact that youth “are often brought up in a home environment where parents, friends, siblings and peers are less interested in schooling, university education, and its associated benefits” (pg. 21). Additionally, one Canadian study delved deeper than financial constraint and looked at secondary factors that are common amongst the economically disadvantaged. These factors include personal perception of what youth can accomplish, sub-par scores on standardized tests and reading level.
The authors conducted a study by looking at multiple surveys such as the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and the Youth in Transition Survey (YITS). They had a dependent variable of “students’ access to postsecondary education” and an independent variable of “family characteristics.” The study found that SES may be a predictor of college access with students coming from a high SES family being more likely to attend a 4-year school. They also found that schools with a higher average SES also had higher rates of students attending college. Lastly, they drew a conclusion that students have typically decided whether or not they will be attending college at an early age. Students who are driven and complete high school are able to find the resources to attend college.
Dyce, Cherrel Miller, Cheryll Albold, and Deborah Long. "Moving from College Aspiration to Attainment: Learning from One College Access Program." The High School Journal 96.2 (2013): 152-65. ProQuest. Web. 12 Oct. 2015.
By 2018 a large majority (around 62%) of jobs in the United States will require some type of post high school education and over half of those jobs will require a four-year degree. If those numbers are accurate there will be a shortage of over 15 million qualified individuals in the workforce. The subset of the population that is most at risk of not being able to compete for these jobs is individuals who come from a disadvantaged background or who have a cycle of disadvantage in their family. These are students of color, first generation college students, and low-income students who lack the financial and social capital to enroll and complete at a post high school institution. The education gap between underserved students and other students continues to grow and much of that is attributed to a lack of resources along with many other life challenges.
The essay by Cherrel Miller Dyce titled “Moving from College Aspiration to Attainment: Learning from One College Access Program” discusses a small study focusing on low-income, first-generation students and families regarding their aspirations and realities as it pertains to achieving a college education after high school. The study surveyed 75 students and 76 parents regarding their confidence about different aspects of the college entry process such as necessary courses and ability to find financial resources.
The study found that students’ and family’s confidence of a college education is fairly high, however that does not correlate with actual college entry rates. This means that students are not reaching the goals they aspire to when it comes to their education. The article calls for “long-term support for students and families throughout the high school.” To do so, the author is proposing more college access programs in the K-12 system that are targeted towards first-generation, low-income, minority students. These programs should “celebrate, recognize, and nurture the aspirational capital found in the social networks of potential students.”
Burke, J. B., & Johnstone, M. (2004). Access to Higher Education: The Hope for Democratic Schooling in America. Higher Education In Europe, 29(1), 0-31
The Article “Access to Higher Education: The Hope for Democratic Schooling” by J. Bruch Burke and Michelle Johnston take on some of the issues the United States faces with its ideals of hope and democracy for all, and the reality of a shrinking middle class and an increasingly unrealistic perception of the American dream.
The article starts by comparing the world’s perception of the U.S to the drastically different views that American’s have for themselves. Mostly, it is difficult to grasp the concept of a country who is so filled with patriotism and faith in the democratic system yet has so many shortcomings, particularly when looking at the gap in quality of life amongst its upper class and lower class citizens. The article then moves into the specific topic of access to higher education. Acquiring a higher education has long been viewed as the beacon of hope for individuals who strive for a better future, a beacon that under threat according to Burke and Johnston.
The authors pose the questions: “What would define a quality undergraduate education for marginalized students?” (pg. 22) They go on to describe that a quality education for one group should look the same as a quality of education for another group. I believe the article is making the point that education should not settle based on the population it serves. The article calls this concept, “democratic schooling” which essentially acknowledges socioeconomically, cultural and other differences students have and uses those differences to empower all students, not just the ones that are deemed creative, talented or gifted. It goes on to explain the unfair and unequitable nature of the school system by describing key distinctions between affluent students and marginalized students. Distinctions which include access to technology, up-to-date text books, opportunities to travel, and enriching activities.
The authors look to public school teachers in K-12 to prepare students for democratic schooling post high school but state that most K-12 teachers are unprepared in doing so due to the cyclical shortcomings of the hiring process of public school teachers. “The majority of teachers have been unprepared to lead their students into the arena of democratic learning environments, and much less to actually engage in democratic discourse” (pg. 31). In the concluding paragraphs, the article talks about the importance of a broad, liberal arts based education as a key component to democratic discourse. It states that many teachers entering the workforce are not informed about basics in literature, mathematics and science. A broader education instead of focusing on concentration area may be a solution or alternative to teaching credentials.
- Sep 2015
HILL, C. (2014). A Billion-Dollar Problem in Widening College Access. Chronicle Of Higher Education, 61(11), A72.
There are prestigious schools that recognize the need to accept academically prepared students who come from all walks of life. In response, many of these schools have specifically reserved spots for “talented low- and middle- class students” in effort to appeal to these individuals who would likely not apply otherwise.
However, according to Catharine Hill who is author of A Billion-Dollar Problem in Widening College Access, the issue is not the student’s perception on their likelihood of getting accepted but rather the family’s ability to pay for the education.
Bloomberg Philanthropies is the organization who has taken on this $10-million dollar project of increasing awareness and trying to get around 65,000 more low-income students to apply to one of the 265 top tier colleges. However as the title of the article suggests, this is not a $10-million dollar problem but rather a billion or multiple billion dollar problem.
Hill states that a fair, average number for each student to attend one of these schools is around $40,000 per year. This means that the school would have to invest $160,000 in Financial Aid for a low-income student to attend for four years who will not have any family contribution. When you multiply that by the 65,000 applicant increase that Bloomberg Philanthropies wants to see, you get a daunting $10.4 Billion. Hill states that by focusing the initiative on just getting more applicants, you are not solving the real problem.
Some of the suggestions Hill gives include getting buy-in from all of the college Presidents to make financial need a priority and creating policy around doing a better job incentivizing these schools to make financial need a priority. Historically government has attempted to play a role in increasing access for students but Hill argues that they have only improved the quality of education for students who already have access. She suggests that policies can be created to help alleviate colleges from making some of the difficult decisions around where to allocate their money.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 guarantees certain rights to people with disabilities and establishes a baseline of what organizations need to do in order to provide equitable access to people with disabilities. Colleges and Universities are just one of the social institutions in America that are required to comply with ADA regulations. In the field of higher education, these regulations are the bare minimum of what colleges and universities need to do for their students. However, a group of doctoral study students at Syracuse University take it one step further with the creation of Beyond Compliance Coordinating Committee (BCCC).
In an article by Carrie Rood and Michelle Damiani, titled “Increasing Access and making Practice More Inclusive through Disability Awareness Training” the authors describe some of the efforts and best practices of BCCC.
The group was founded in 2001 and strives to bring issues of access and disability to the forefront of the college. It takes a holistic approach to doing this by “encouraging the university to establish and support attitudes, settings, and practices that go ‘beyond compliance’ with the law in order to create an inclusive environment of participatory equality within the scholarly community.”
One of the core concepts highlighted in the article is the idea that Graduate Teaching Assistants who will have of first hand contact with students must have proper training to successfully work with student with disabilities. Since the organization was formed by a group of doctoral studies students, they had all gone through teaching assistant (TA) training and identified a need for more training in this area.
The group created a training module and launched it in August 2012 They hosted two sessions during regularly scheduled TA training which happens on an annual basis. Overall they had a good responses from participants and were able to use the feedback to improve the module.
The main takeaway from this article is that higher education should give more attention to one of its most vulnerable populations to ensure equitable access and a quality college experience for students with disabilities.
Citation: Increasing Access and Making Practice More Inclusive through Disability Awareness Training. By: ROOD, CARRIE E., DAMIANI, MICHELLE L., Academe, 01902946, Sep/Oct2015, Vol. 101, Issue 5