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  • There are many ways by which we can fast realize our American Dream
  • Posted By:
  • Chris J
  • Posted On:
  • 21-Apr-2013
  • Our rates of post secondary education attainment continue to plunge. Today our education system is unable to meet the current workforce demands and keep pace with global competition. Just a decade back, our attainment rate was highest in the world. It is time for us to stand together and effectively respond to the college completion imperative to safeguard our nation’s present and future well-being.

    Today college completion issue is definitely in the forefront with higher education associations, government agencies and non-profit foundations realising the genuine urgency of the situation.  As with every issue, there are those contrarians who argue that the urgency to create more number of college graduates in our country is overstated.

    What they refuse to do is to acknowledge the irrefutable data that shows that students with a bachelor’s degree earn more than those with just a high school diploma. A disturbing reality is that a child born in the lower income quartile has just 8% chance of obtaining a college degree while one born in highest quartile has an 85% chance of completing college.

    Where is the equality and how do students from the lower income group get a chance to share in the American dream? None of the previous generations of university leaders have faced the grave situation we face today having realized that the well-being and economic success of an individual clearly lies in higher education.

    To achieve that dream, we need to place our students on an upwardly mobile path. For this, the most compelling imperative is to bring about a social equity. There is a high unlikelihood of our higher education system being able to meet its responsibilities as no strategic investment is encouraged by our present fiscal environment.

    What each one of us must understand is that our efforts must not be paralyzed by our fiscal reality. We must strive to meet this responsibility by embracing innovative ideas as this is the obligation of our higher education community and this is the only way we can progress on the vital issue of social equity.

    There are many viable strategies we could adopt to make this happen. Most of them just need a strong willingness on our part and a new mindset and not much money. For example, the college matching issue must be given greater significance by the two and four-year colleges and private institutions.

    Students who are extremely capable and college-ready are not offered enough guidance, advice and support as they are from the low-income minority group. They end up choosing colleges whose graduation rate is low and obviously these students are over qualified. Major culprits that foster this mismatch include lack of encouragement, lack of planning and lack of information.

    This does not mean that open admissions will not benefit low-income high ability students. It just means that the responsibility of meeting obligations towards low-income students must be met by selective institutions. This will help our students align their expectations, aspirations and abilities to available options.


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