Working Through College

It is no longer so easy to work your way through college. The math just doesn't add up. This recent article on spells out exactly how difficult it is today for college students to pay for school:

In the school year just ended, the total of tuition, fees and room and board for in-state students at four-year public universities was $19,548. The maximum Pell Grant didn't keep pace with that: It was $5,775. That left our hypothetical student on the hook for $13,773.
A student would now have to work 37 hours a week, every week of the year, at the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, to get by. Research shows that when college students work more than 20 hours a week their studies suffer. If they're working full time, many will take longer to finish and end up paying even more.

The longer a student takes to finish college the less likely they are to do so. And those often include our hardest working students. It doesn't add up. Something has to change. 


Dropping Out of College

There is a crisis and current students see it, too. Students are dropping out of college. One such student wrote about the crisis for Edsurge Independent, a platform on Medium for students to have a voice in the education technology space.

The problem, however, is how we talk about the students who drop out:

We spend a great deal of time and money trying to push students into college who aren’t ready, or for whom college isn’t quite the best choice, and then, as expected, watch them fail.

Defining these students as not ready or poor decision-makers is like blaming someone for getting food poisoning. These are students who are admitted to college. They have passed a number of hurdles to get there and then suddenly, they are not supported because they may not fit the mold of the ideal student.

But in fact, the college student mold has changed and it's important that colleges, communities, and even families revise their expectations.  

Bridging the gap between who college has served in the past and who it must serve in the future is complex, but the future of our educated populace rests on doing this hard work.