Early this week someone had posted on Facebook, “Is higher education a privilege or a right?” and my first though was, it’s definitely a privilege. An education is something you have to work hard for to obtain, to earn, it’s not something to be handed out to every. You have to continuously read and study, pass exams, complete assignments, meet GPA requirements and so much more to be able to meet such requirements to gain the knowledge to earn a degree. However, conveniently enough, this week’s primary topic regarding the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act and eliminating barriers for low-income students got me to think more on the initial question asked on Facebook. Although higher education is a privilege, it is also a right. Any person has the right to apply for acceptance into a college, the right to dedicate themselves to the realm of higher education and the right to earn a degree. However, although everyone has this right to pursue an education, not everyone has the means to successfully and/or financially make it all the way through.
By reauthorizing the Higher Education Act, administrators can begin to make a positive impact on higher education by eliminating barriers and gaps that are preventing students from excelling and ultimately graduating. During this week’s discussion I had mentioned certain ways barriers could be avoided such as a more simplified process when applying for aid or creating more community college partnerships, make sure students are well prepared for college level courses prior to college. Kids are in school for approximately 13 years before beginning a higher education journey and given this, it is clear that there is a major gap primarily starting in high school leading up to their senior year. What is missing in the 4 years of high school that creates a lack of preparedness for college? Who holds the responsibility in preparing students for college? I definitely feel it’s important for the administrators of the Higher Education Act to really focus on this particular barrier/gap so that students can plan ahead and be more prepared for their college level work so that they can ultimately do better in courses, maintain persistence and graduate.