Everyone, yes everyone has a right to a good education. This includes higher education, or going on to college to ensure a higher earning potential and better life in the future. So, why is it that students from low-income families have such a difficult time accessing higher education opportunities?
There are definitely inequities in access to higher education, but that doesn't mean you have to accept it. According to Huffington Post, there are at least 5 ways that college can be easier to access by students from poor families. They represent removing barriers that often keep low-income students from going to college.
- Lowering the cost of college - this is a big one for students from poor families; they just can't afford college. As college costs continue to grow, even middle-income students are struggling to afford college. A recent Forbes article suggested that efforts are being led by President Obama and others to lower college costs. One result is ivy league school Stanford who now offers free tuition for students whose families earn less than $125,000 a year.
- Preparing low-income students for college - if poor students are not taking college prep courses, they are not preparing enough for college. In addition, low-income students should have full access to remedial courses that will prepare them for the challenge of college coursework.
- Improving the application process - applying for college can be a daunting task, and application fees and AP, SAT, and ACT score reports can be a show stopper for poor students. Low-income students in particular need more assistance from school guidance counselors who can show them how they are eligible for waivers on costs involved in preparing for and applying for college entrance.
- Increasing campus visits - low-income students need more access to college campuses but it costs money to visit colleges outside their area. One recommendation is to offer financial support in the form of subsidies for low-income students to be able to visit colleges. An organization called Quest Bridge who helps connect low-income students to good college offers several forms of financial assistance that help remove barriers to college for low-income students.
- Raising expectations - just because a student is poor does not mean they can't go to college, but they need reassurance that this is a possibility. Many are the first ones in their family to attend college. These students especially need to be coached in order to raise their expectations that they, too, can pursue their academic goals.