Today we have a guest post from Kelsey Murray:
Kelsey Murray is a junior at the University of Oklahoma studying advertising. She also writes about news, trends and advice for college students at EduInReview.com, an educational resource helping students at all stages of the education process find student loans, scholarships, testing advice and more.
As a college student, I rarely pay attention to the news and politics. There’s nothing I can do about the drought in Eastern Africa and politics don’t typically interest me because they don’t apply to me. But now, with President Obama in office, things are starting to get a bit more interesting and applicable to me.
Photo by Jurvetson
One of President Obama’s main goals is to see more Americans earn a higher education. In July, he announced plans to spend $12 billion on community colleges. Of this, $2.5 billion is set aside for construction and renovations on community college campuses, $500 million is set aside to better develop online classes, and the last $9 billion is ear-marked as “challenge grants.” These grants will be given to community colleges that strive to be innovative and better educate their students.
In a time when our national debt is the highest it has ever been, how can the President justify spending this much more money on community colleges? Well, actually, spending this money will not increase our national debt. The funds needed for this new program will simply be recycled from another government-subsidized student loan. By eliminating this old program, the government would save at least $4 billion a year, which would obviously help offset the cost of the new program.
So, why does President Obama want every American get a higher education? Is it really that important for the success of a nation?
“Time and again, when we have placed our bet for the future on education, we have prospered as a result — by tapping the incredible innovative and generative potential of a skilled American workforce,” President Obama said.
I agree with President Obama. If we want to be successful in today’s global system, we have to have a high-quality education to do so. But why is it only community colleges receiving this $12 billion? Why not spend some of that money on universities?
There are several reasons why President Obama is focusing on community colleges. First off, President Obama and his committees feel that community colleges are the most accessible institutions of higher education for the majority of Americans. By focusing on community colleges, President Obama is helping those who want a higher education, but for one reason or another, cannot pursue it.
Other reasons why community colleges are a good place to invest in the future educations of American citizens include:
- They are easy to get into. You don’t have to have a perfect score on the SAT to enroll at a community college. This makes it easier for the general population to gain at least one year of higher education.
- They are cheaper than attending a university. The fees, tuition, and living expenses at universities tend to be outrageously higher than those at community colleges. This makes community colleges more appealing and accessible to the majority of Americans.
- Community colleges provide a bridge between high school and universities. There is usually a difference in what is expected of a high school student and a university student. Community colleges give students a chance to acclimate to the demands of higher education, such as all-night study sessions and 20 page essays.
- Community colleges typically have smaller class sizes. At any university, it is fairly common to have a class of over 200 students. This is very rare at community colleges. Students receive more one-on-one learning at community colleges, which also helps them acclimate to the more difficult requirements of higher education.
- The professors at community colleges tend to be more involved with their students. This can be due to the smaller class sizes. In universities, TAs teach lower level classes. In community colleges, most classes are taught by professors who want to help their students learn.
I think that if it is easier and more appealing for students to attend community college, they will. Since President Obama’s goal is to have all Americans attend one year of school beyond high school, this seems like a good way to get students started in the right direction. I feel like giving community colleges money for improvement is a great investment that will reap dividends in the future.