1. In my opinion, higher education is something that is necessary for both success in a future career but success from within. I know that some are not able to afford it or do not have those to push them to go, but I think that the benefits, both long and short term far outweigh anything else. It gives people a whole new outlook not only mastering a particular field of study, but also a whole new outlook from within. In higher education, you begin to view others opinions and take them into consideration more than any time before. Higher education has become almost just as necessary to receive as a high school diploma. The job market is becoming more and more competitive and without a college education chances of of success are unfortunately decreased. With that said, what can be done in order for the idea of a college education to become more tangible for those who have the odds of being able to go stacked against them? This is a topic that I think our society needs to take into more consideration.

  2. I am such an advocate of higher education. Although you don’t have a formal education after high school to be successful, you have to have some kind of training. I believe that higher education teaches students way more than just what a particular degree focuses on, but the independence and identity you obtain while exploring higher education are just two of the reasons why higher education can be beneficial. I also think its important to have some kind of education or training because the job market is limited. There are people with college degrees working for mcdonalds. Students need more than just a high school education to have more and get the most out of life. It sucks that higher education is so expensive, especially since the need for higher education is continuing to grow.

  3. I can’t imagine not going to college. Not only did I feel pressured by society to go to college, but I also felt pressured by my own inner self because I knew how important it was as a Black woman who grew up in Newburg to do something important. I was blessed. I was blessed to have a family that motivated me and teachers who supported me. I was fortunate to go to a school that had good test scores. I can’t help but to think, what if I hadn’t been so lucky?
    Jobs won’t even look at you if you don’t go to college. Of course there are exceptions like Steve jobs and Oprah, but for most regular people, the only option for becoming extraordinary is higher education.
    After reading the article posted about how African-American kids think the key to success is becoming a professional athlete. How can we show kids that college is not only beneficial, but necessary? I definitely starts in the early development stages. That’s why I appreciated being a member of College Mentors for Kids because I know that if kids have early exposure, they are most likely to attend college.

    1. In my opinion, higher education is something that is necessary for both success in a future career but success from within. I know that some are not able to afford it or do not have those to push them to go, but I think that the benefits, both long and short term far outweigh anything else. It gives people a whole new outlook not only mastering a particular field of study, but also a whole new outlook from within. In higher education, you begin to view others opinions and take them into consideration more than any time before. Higher education has become almost just as necessary to receive as a high school diploma. The job market is becoming more and more competitive and without a college education chances of of success are unfortunately decreased. With that said, what can be done in order for the idea of a college education to become more tangible for those who have the odds of being able to go stacked against them? This is a topic that I think our society needs to take into more consideration.

  4. In 2012, President Obama, initiated the Pay As you Earn Repayment Plan (PAYE). This act was updated in 2015 and this update of the PAYE could affect nearly 5 million students who have taken out loans to pay for school. This new option for repayment seems to help the students the most, but a downside is that all students are not eligible for the PAYE. The PAYE was first only available for students who were “new” borrowers, in 2012. However, in 2015, under the rebudget of the PAYE, borrowers who took out federal loans before October 2007 or stopped borrowing by October 2011 are now eligible.

    The PAYE is a nice step in a positive direction to help students with their debt from higher education.


  5. Higher education is something that most children dream about. High school students spend hours focusing on grades, participating in extra curricular activities, and putting together applications and resumes. However, with tuition sky-rocketing, students must now spend an equal amount of time planning for college payment. In the past years, financial aid has “flattened”, decreasing in the amount of “aid” being offered to new and returning students.

    In result, higher education has become increasingly more inaccessible. College is almost completely unattainable for lower class students and a HUGE challenge for all students.

    It is a sad reality that students are facing this difficulty when it comes to higher education accessibility.

    Here is an interesting article about how college tuition went from “affordable to sky-high”:


    1. The high cost of a college education is definitely a burden on many individuals, and students are now questioning whether they will see a large enough return on their investment to justify attending a four year institution. For example, a student could attend a technical college and become an electrician or plumber, and he or she could make more money than a white collar “professional.”

      The article mentions the lack of state funding, which is certainly an issue for many public schools. Accreditation, facilities, staff, etc. costs are rising and government funding is not increasing, which means that funding must come from somewhere else – namely students’ tuition and alumni donors.

      One other thing that is important to note in the rising costs of college, is students’ expectations of “boutique” offerings. The majority of today’s students are unsatisfied with standard dorms and cafeterias and are looking for a suite-style or private dorm rooms with lots of dining choices. Most colleges feel pressured to continue to improve these living facilities as well as other campus life offerings to attract students. It is a difficult dilemma for some schools – raise costs to add better student life options or keep costs lower but lose students’ tuition dollars to schools with better offerings.

    2. In reply to Maddie-

      When I was selecting which college to go to, my dad told me I could go to whichever school I wanted to. However, when I said which school was my top pick, he said it was too expensive. While my time at UK has been priceless and I wouldn’t trade it for anything, I must wonder how different my life would be if I went to my dream school. I have been so, so fortunate to have my parents helping me pay for school, therefore I have no complaints.
      I feel like lack of funds for college can either make a student push themselves even further to receive scholarships and grants or shut a student down if they think there’s no hope to pay for it. If you do make it to college, it may take you decades to pay back your debt. It is so disappointing to see that this is how our country works. If it’s so necessary to have a college education, why are you not making it a possibility for everyone?

      For those of you observing and student teaching, what have you been hearing from your students? I’ve had students say they’re going to college or that they have a technical track in mind. Luckily, many I speak to have an idea of what they would like to do. However, I know not every student has thought about their future in the same way.

      Here is a similar article to Maddie’s that discusses the fact that tuition may be rising at a slower rate, but it’s still too expensive.

    3. Madison, that is a great article, with commentary from our very own, Dr. John Thelin. Dr. Thelin is a leading expert in the world of higher education. In 2013, he authored the book, “The Rising Cost of Higher Education: A Reference Handbook”. It really speaks to how the costs of higher education have gotten out of hand. Dr. Thelin begins the book with a look back at some of the early beginnings of higher education and the cost. Around 100 years ago, the cost of a year the an Ivy League school about about $130.


      Many would still argue that even with the inflated prices of higher education, the need for a degree is an important one. So, why can’t lawmakers, lobbyists and administration come to an agreement on how to fix the upward trajectory of going to college?

      This answer will take time, but in order to keep access to higher education equal (which is a whole other can of worms!), the prices of higher education need to be examined!

  6. It is undeniable that in order to succeed in life, one must gain an education. However, in terms of higher education, access is becoming harder and harder to gain. With tuition rates to even community colleges, let alone, 4-year universities and graduate programs skyrocketing year by year, the average family and student are becoming unable to foot the bill for something we as a people have deemed vital. However, it is not just the financial struggles that inhibiting students from achieving access to college, it also lies within our current curricula. With years of stagnation and “teaching to the test”, students today are saying they are not prepared to be successful in college or careers due to lack of education they received while in grades K-12. This is unacceptable. We want our students to grow and prosper, yet we have set them up for failure due to things like “No Child Left Behind” and worrying about test scores for funding. We are forcing our students into a monster of our own creation and it is our responsibility to them, and the future, to fix this fault.

  7. Accessing higher education is extremely difficult for all of the reasons addressed in previous comments, and I think that refugees and immigrants face even more challenges. While they may be proficient in speaking English, they may not have perfect grammar when writing academic papers. This means that many are put in remedial classes, rather than in classes that match their actual skill level. Furthermore, refugees and immigrants are most often the first generation in their family to navigate the American education system. As we all know this process can be very confusing, especially when English isn’t your first language. The paper below outlines some additional issues that immigrants and refugees face when accessing higher education. Refugees and immigrants have a tendency to self-eliminate, making entering higher education and staying there a huge challenge. Furthermore, refugees and immigrants are under immense financial pressure. As discussed in class, many refugees and immigrants send money back to family and friends in their home country. Also, an issue that applies specifically to refugees, the U.S. pays for refugees’ plane tickets to the United States, but it is a loan and after a certain period of time they are expected to pay the government back. This is an additional financial burden. These two factors, combined with difficulty gaining employment, make paying for higher education almost unattainable. I think there should be more systems in place to support immigrants and refugees in accessing higher education.


  8. The world of higher education is seemingly becoming more difficult for the average middle class student to access and navigate. Community colleges are expanding and prestigious 4 year colleges are raising the tuition to facilitate expanding campuses and renovations. Students must figure out how to navigate through transcripts, recommendations , applications, financial, scholarships- it is no longer solely the students responsibility. Sine the new Accountability formula for school now includes the percentage of students who are College and Career Ready, school are playing a more active role in aiding students in their quest to access higher education.

    I have observed at my practicum placements workshops, college rep visits, credit recovery classes, dual credit classes, and graduation and career planning.

    NPR released an article that discusses both the student’s and the university’s perspective on the application process and how to make it more efficient.

    1. I”m a little skeptical of the new online college application tool that the Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success will release in 2016 that is discussed in elgibbs92’s comment. The application will only be accepted by member institutions and it sounds like the member institutions will continue to ask for the standard application items, such as test scores, transcript, essays, etc. Most typical high school guidance counselors at public schools have a load of several hundred students. Most do not have time to log into every student’s account on a regular basis to see their progress. Many already have an online application that allows them to send transcripts, letters of recommendation, and other materials to colleges, so adding an additional system would most likely add to their workload. Similarly, students going through the college application process have a number of deadlines, online systems, and admissions requirements to keep up with if they are applying to multiple colleges, and adding yet another program seems overwhelming, especially if they are a first generation student and have a lack of support. A large percentage of colleges are members of the Common Application, and students, counselors, teachers, and a number of parents are already familiar with that system. My advice to the Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success would be to partner with the Common Application to make it more use-friendly and to implement some of their ideas instead of adding ANOTHER college application system for students, counselors, and families to have to learn and manage.

  9. http://www.prostaronline.com/articles/upwardmobility.pdf

    I read this article in my sociology class, and I think reading it should be a requirement for every athlete who is entering college sports. The article emphasizes that many children, especially African American children, believe that their way to financial success is by becoming a professional athlete. Therefore, they are more reluctant to take their academics seriously because their mindset while in college is fixated on how they can train to become a professional athlete. In reality, statistics show that approximately 1% of college athletes will become a professional. Even fewer will have a stable career playing professionally. I think it is important that society quits depicting becoming a professional athlete as a realistic goal, and instead, we emphasis more attention on setting college athletes up for more reasonable careers after undergraduate year.

  10. http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2015/09/03/436584244/why-are-colleges-really-going-test-optional

    This news report takes a critical look at test-optional admissions policies for selective liberal arts schools. These schools typically have lower rates of racial and ethnic diversity, and academic barriers to lower-income students, such as attendance at a poor-performing high school or low standardized test scores, are often what is cited as the reason for the lack of racial, ethnic, and income diversity. Offering test-optional admissions sounds like a great way to overcome that. As a former high school teacher to low income and racially diverse students and former admissions counselor who worked with this population, I can see the surface benefits of such a policy. However, simply offering admission to a wider range of diverse students will not increase diversity at an institution. There must be institutional changes that include an inclusive environment, student support systems, and stronger financial aid to genuinely increase diversity at selective liberal arts schools. This article sheds light on some of these issues and also discusses the benefits that “test-optional” brings to college rankings. I fully support test optional admissions policies if institutions are willing to make the necessary changes to support a more diverse student population because diversity on the college campus benefits everyone. More on that topic another time…

    1. This is a great discussion topic. Looking at should test scores really count? What about students who aren’t academically able. Should they be accepted anyway? Are institutions just taking their money and giving them false hopes, only to frustrate and devastate them in a few years? How do we strike the appropriate balance?

      1. http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2015/01/same-performance-better-grades/384447/

        Sarah Caton – EDC 550

        I found this article regarding grade inflation once students have been admitted to college. In my opinion, the argument here aligns with your commentary on false hopes of success, particularly for liberal arts majors, upon graduation. In my three years as an undergraduate at the University of Kentucky, I do not believe I have personal experience with grade inflation. A novel I read in an Education Leadership course called Why Teach posed similar questions about liberal arts education and degree programs in comparison to technical disciplines rooted in mathematics and science. Because the material is generally more subjective and open to interpretation, the grades tend to reflect somewhat higher than those in technical disciplines such as engineering or chemistry. As an individual pursuing a dual-degree in Spanish and Gender and Women’s Studies, I can absolutely see where the material covered in my courses is considerably more subjective than biology, for example, although I do not believe it contributes to purposeful and intentional grade inflation. Yes, these departments are smaller, have small class sizes, fewer students declared as majors or minors, and fewer tenured faculty members, yet I do not believe that I have truly earned the grades I’ve received. I currently have a 4.0 overall GPA in both of my disciplines and believe that is reflective of my strong work ethic and genuine interest in what I am studying instead of being directly related to educators who have intentionally inflated my grades for their own self-interest.

        Because I am on full scholarship, I gave myself the liberty to study the disciplines in which I was truly most interested rather than a field that might have a more promising prospective job market post-graduation. Choosing to study Spanish and Gender and Women’s Studies has not limited me in any way in developing academically and professionally during my undergraduate programs, but rather enhanced my understanding of culture, communication skills, and sensitivity to global issues. Because my class sizes are usually less than 20 students, my class meetings are filled with interesting discussions and debates that apply popular culture and current media. By applying the social theories related to the discipline to real world examples of concepts such as misogyny, academia, agency, and autonomy, I feel better prepared to discuss current events and apply a critical lens when looking a situation. Realistically, I use the concept of media literacy daily when I challenge friends to be critical of the media they consume and also create themselves. Rarely, if ever, do any of my friends in engineering or chemistry explicitly share and apply their studies with me on a day-to-day basis. Thus, both types of education are equally valid and important in higher education, and grade inflation does not correlate with the quality of higher education received.

      2. After reading the article, I am honestly conflicted. I’m unsure on where I stand on this issue. In theory, banishing tests such as the SATs and ACTs would prove to be a phenomenal key in gaining more students, but as the article said, it can allow schools to be more strict on their acceptances. For example, there are some students who are absolutely intelligent, but they do not apply themselves, so they make average grades, but when forced to take the ACT or SAT, then they excel on those entrance exams. My question is if these universities are banishing the SATs and ACTs, then are they going to implement what some universities already have? Are they going to make students take placement exams to realize what core classes that the students need or can exempt? For example, in high school, I took several advanced placement exams, so I was able to automatically receive credit for Calculus I and other classes at The University of Kentucky. If these universities are not going to implement them, then what other steps are they going to take in order to broaden their acceptance rates and their diversity?

      3. https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2015/07/27/a-list-of-180-ranked-schools-that-dont-require-act-or-sat-scores-for-admissions/

        In response to the discussion about ACT/SAT scores being used for college admission, I found this interesting article. For most of us, when we thought about apply to college, the first thing we did was sign up for the ACT or SAT because that was the only common thread linking all of our college choices together. There was no question, in order to get into college, before they looked at my high school transcript, my extracurricular activities, volunteer positions, they would have to see my standardized test scores. However, much research is emerging today that these tests are not great indicators of college success.
        In my current positon as the Director of Freshmen Advising for the College of Engineering, my sole purpose is to insure that our freshmen survive to become sophomores. When we look at the likelihood for our students in engineering to stay in our college and be successful, we no longer look at their ACT/SAT scores, because it is not the best indicator. We look at their high school GPA, High School Readiness index, if they have AP credit and a few other measures. The math department at UK has even (somewhat) forgone the ACT scores when placing students into their first semester math course. They are now asking students to take the ALEKS exam, which is math placement exam that is supposed to be more accurate in identifying a student’s ability than the ACT.
        It is very interesting to see that now, more than 180 ranked US institutes are moving away from requiring an ACT/SAT score. It will be very interesting to track these students that do not take the ACT/SAT and their success in higher education.

        1. Fact Sheet for President Obama’s proposal on the American’s College Promise:
          Information on the Tennessee Promise Scholarship:
          Information on the Chicago Star Scholarship:

          What are your opinions on these new initiatives to make the first two years at a community college free, if students meet certain criteria? Chicago and Tennessee were some of the first to implement these programs, and it was fairly recently initiated. It will take time to see the data that will come out of these two areas on if this new type of scholarship works. If we are talking about allowing more populations to be able to have access to college, then this program is a step in the right direction. Offering these types of incentives to high school students will keep some students that might go off track, on, and allow them the opportunity to get at least and associates degree for free. I like that with hard work, comes rewards, but as an employee in higher education, I worry about the impact on the colleges and universities.
          If you are going to offer the first two years of college free for a student to attend BCTC, then why would students choose to pay to go to UK, when they can get the same thing from BCTC and then transfer to UK after their AS/AA degree? I think it will drive some students away from the traditional 4-year institutions due to the non-stop tuition hikes that all universities seem to be experiencing? If this is the case, what does this influx of students do to the quality of education at the local community college? Typically, classes at a local community college are smaller than those at a larger state school, so will this initiative impact the learning environment that makes community colleges so appealing to students?
          It will be interesting to see how all of this plays out down the road!

  11. Since 1986, the National Dropout Prevention Center/Network (NDPC/N) has conducted and analyzed research, sponsored extensive workshops, and collaborated with a variety of practitioners to further the mission of reducing school dropout rates by meeting the needs of youth in at-risk situations, including students with disabilities. Students report a variety of reasons for dropping out of school; thus, making the solutions multidimensional. How can educators reduce the dropout rate? This article offers a list of suggestions on how educators can work towards lessening the dropout rate for students. Some of the suggestions offered include: systematic renewal, school-community collaboration, providing safe learning environments for students, encouraging family engagement, service-learning, after-school opportunities, and mentoring/tutoring.

  12. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s proposed 546 page budget included: Slashing $300 mil from University of Wisconsin budget, editing the mission statement, dropped “search for truth,” and “improving people’s lives beyond the campus borders,” and inserted “meet the state’s workforce needs.”
    What should students and faculty at this top university do? Read the full article. http://www.commondreams.org/views/2015/02/06/wisconsin-gov-scott-walker-tripped-truth

    1. The idea of a college’s purpose to be merely to “meet the state’s workforce needs” is an incredibly huge issue in higher education today. I struggle with seeing this in students in my TA sections. When we forget that college CAN be an opportunity to “improv[e] peoples’ lives beyond the campus borders,” we lose the real point of college. It isn’t merely to pass the classes, get the degree, and become an employed member of society. There is so much more to the college experience. Learning and doing good should be ingrained in that experience for every student. A focus on how to improve the community and not merely one’s bank account seems central to what college should be teaching students. Governor Walker’s budget proposal is deeply concerning to me as a future college educator and as someone who has been through both a private liberal arts education and a state university system.

      I know that the University of Wisconsin has an incredible reputation, especially in its history department, so if these proposed changes to its mission statement occur, it could be ruinous for this university, its faculty, and its students. Again, the people of Wisconsin need to be proactive in reporting to their legislators how they feel about such a change. We live in a system where we get a say, even if we oftentimes feel that our efforts are futile.

    2. If this happened to the University of Kentucky, I think that students and staff would be outraged just like the University of Wisconsion students and staff are. If this happened to UK, I think that the student should protest it. Especially since the budget cuts would directly effect the students, they should have a say is what is happening. I think if this happened, the students should come together and get in touch with the govenor so he will know how they are directly being affected. Also, I think that students should protest changing the mission and philosophy statement. This is the core of the university and changing it would be an outrage.

    3. Universities and colleges are not institutions where students attend to only “meet the state’s workforce needs”. To me, if that is your objective of higher education, then a trade or technical school would be a better fit. The purpose of higher education is yes, to help you attain a degree that will lead to a career, but it is also meant to develop you as an individual. This is one reason why as undergraduates, we are required to take the core classes such as English and history. No, they might not directly relate to our major or future career, but they are meant to expand your horizons and develop you better as an individual.
      By removing this ideology from the University mission statement, you are sending a message to state citizens, current and future students, and faculty that who they are as an individual isn’t that important, but who you are as a worker is.

    4. I found this article on how the University of Wisconsin staff congress decided to fight back. Students and faculty participated in a rally on February 4th, but they also started to take further action in opposition to the governor’s legislation. They unanimously passed a resolution on their side of the issue and how it would hurt their university and they urged both legislative houses of the state congress to consider the negative aftermath the budget cuts would have. The budget revisions still have to make their way through the state house of representatives and senate before the governor can sign it. As students and employees of the University, they acted with level heads to defend their school and what they hold dear to themselves. They are doing all that they can to inform the state congress on how bad the budget cut would be for the University and the State of Wisconsin.

  13. Latino students who enter higher education institutions are completing at a higher rate that White students. However, there are still significant barriers for undocumented Latino high school graduates. And there is still a high dropout rate in secondary schools. How can educators reduce the dropout rate and encourage our lawmakers to remove higher education barriers? Check out the following articles

    1. So many times, it is easy for institutions to get lost in what is the most profitable way to sustain themselves. The University of Kentucky is a non-profit public institution, but it still charges tuition and receives federal funding. Without the funding from government and students, the school would no longer continue to function the way it does. The focus needs to be changed to one in which the betterment and education of the country becomes the focus at public schools, and the government should not penalize schools for allowing undocumented students into its halls. Those schools should be celebrated as the ones that are allowing for these individuals to further their education and provide a better future for themselves and the country that they so desperately want to be a part of.

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