Budget constraints and unemployment rate continue to impact the degree to which affordable higher education is offered to a variety of diverse students. In California alone, “During the past two years, the amount of unfunded students has risen to 94,000 students statewide” (LRCCD, 2012). Most students now look for financial aid to help them pay for two year college classes, but either cannot receive financial aid, or the classes are full when they attempt to register, with no hope for enrollment until the next semester. The paradox rests in the idea that those seeking education at this level are often searching for certificates or degrees that are marketable. Yet, the achievement gap between students of various socioeconomic backgrounds continues to be an important and controversial educational issue (Education Trust, 2008).
The question of why low-income students may be less likely to succeed in educational settings, according to Pallais and Turner (2006), can be divided into the stages of, “Preparation, application, admission and matriculation” (p. 358). Research has suggested that students who are from low SES homes have families that rely on external support systems like academic counseling services for vital information (MacAllum, Glover, Queen, & Riggs, 2007).
To measure which programs might be helping these students the most, along with which programs students need the most, research should be performed that hears student stories, assessing campus systems, and makes connections between the needs of these students with current program availability. It will not serve the population well to keep eliminating college course availability. Despite budget constraints, efforts should continue in reaching out to the population that is supposed to be served by community colleges.
Chancellor’s Message. (2012). http://www.losrios.edu/
Education Trust. (2008). National Center for Transforming School Counseling.
http:// www2.edtrust.org/EdTrust/Transforming+School+ Counseling/main
MacAllum, K., Glover,D. M.,Queen, B., & Riggs, A. (2007, December). Deciding on
postsecondary education: Final report.
Pallais, A., & Turner, S. (2006). Opportunities for low-income students at top colleges and
universities: Policy initiatives and the distribution of students. National Tax Journal, 59(2), 357-386.