How Ethnicity Has To Do With Math Classes And Learning Public College Access for Minority and Low Income Students Devastated

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Public College Access for Minority and Low Income Students Devastated

In pursuit of better rankings in “American Best Colleges” and US News Report and numerous websites, many public colleges have abandoned their commitment to low-income and minority students. Access to public college for minority and low-income students has been devastated by a shift in college enrollment management practices. According to a recent report by the Education Trust, enrollment data for low-income and minority college students is not encouraging. The report is titled “Abandoned Promise: How Policy Choices and Institutional Practices Resist University Opportunity.” Although the number of African American students entering college grew from 943,000 in 1974 to 1.9 million in 2004 and Latino enrollment increased from 353,000 to 1.7 million, their college enrollments could not keep pace with the increase in white students. While the number of white high school graduates fell from 2.6 million in 1974 to 1.8 million in 2004, actual college enrollment rose from 7.7 million in 1974 to 9.7 million in 2004 .

Education is a key to employment in the information age, and thousands of minority and low-income students have been left behind over the past 15 years. Colleges are on the hunt for the best students and have increased financial aid for families making more than $100,000 by 347% compared to 91% for families making between $20,000 and $40,000. Many factors contribute to this shift to support those who already have upper-class incomes. Some public universities are no longer committed to college access because they have changed policies over the past fifteen years and are succeeding. State lawmakers at these public colleges have taken a harder look at who they’re supporting with the scarce dollars available.

The policies appear to support giving more merit-based financial aid and more financial aid to middle- and upper-class students who have a better chance of graduating. The education gap continues to widen based on student income and ethnicity. Many minority students who arrive at college come with insufficient funds and few experiences in advanced math and science courses. They also don’t have the financial resources to deal with the rising cost of college. There is no interest in providing greater access to students who may need more academic support.

Clearly, universities must increase their commitment to providing access to minority and low-income students. They are looking at the fact that minorities represent the fastest growing student population. We are risking a diminished ability to compete in the global economy. College ranking publications and websites should include minority and low-income college access as one of the criteria for high-ranking schools. College admissions and financial aid policies must change, and federal and state policymakers must write legislation that supports low-income and minority students. Dr. Stephen Jones is the author of “Seven Secrets of How to Study,” a study skills book for students of all ages.

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