Higher Education

During the discussion with Tressie McMillan Cottom and Carla Shedd they had an informative conversation about the inequalities within the education system and what is necessary to change the dynamics of the college experience in general. 

Some of the highlights that resonated with me was the idea of changing the narrative of who the college student is. Dr. Cottom mentions the reality is that the college student is a woman who is also a mother and caregiver. This requires them to need several resources such as child care, mental health services, financial aid, transportation services and many others. I’m not a mother but I do work full time so that requires me to need a different set of resources such as access to evening classes, additional tutoring, and even mental health services from the overwhelming experience of taking on so much at one time. They also mentioned the negative attitudes that is related to attending community colleges. I have experienced that feeling of thinking community college wasn’t acceptable because of the high standards my parents held me to. I did attend SUNY Westchester Community College before attending Lehman and I feel it was a great experience as I was proud to have used that school as a first step to my journey in obtaining higher education. After my first semester my college experience wasn’t really based on what I wanted to actually pursue as a career it was more of the financial aspect and if I was going to be able to afford to attend. I didn’t receive financial aid because of my parents income but as a family of seven we still couldn’t afford it which made it frustrating. I felt that I was being penalized because I didn’t have dependents and I made a decent salary to take care of myself, but I was also forced to struggle while paying out of pocket for school or revert to having students loans.

In my opinion the equity in higher education can be brought on by comparing the resources and types of programs that ivy league or private colleges have and implementing those same programs in the public schools as well as community colleges. Community colleges are the building foundations for many minorities that are subjected to adversities such as poverty, violence, drug abuse and other issues that influence their success as an individual. I think there are programs that can be created to give that extra support for these individuals to make the action of receiving a higher education seem more obatainable. I feel like these things are always easier said than done and hopefully in the future we have officials that see the benefit of society using higher education to their advantage.

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