Opinion: A College Education Act that addresses important issues facing our country’s educational and economic future
The best way to impact student achievement and individual opportunity in today’s global society is to place students within an environment that delivers tangible experiences in a wide variety of programming and ventures. What’s more, these experiences must be well-directed. In turn, we must reduce tuition and remove the financial barrier to attend college for all those who want to learn. Only with such dramatic budget improvements will the undergraduate student body participate in the national debate as to whether education should be the top priority in this nation.
Choosing a College
—Closely inspect a school’s level of investment and support for its rich array of offerings.
—Consider the graduation rates of the bachelor’s programs, and how and why they compare to the nation as a whole.
—Review specific programs such as study abroad or running the American Chemical Society and raise the proportion of females by roughly 10 percent.
—Compare majors to high schools and other secondary schools for opportunities to provide some degree of direct connection with other programs at one’s college or university. This would also occur by recognizing the extent to which a student has developed peer relationships and shared interests in exchange for “life” experiences that support learning, and without which learning would be severely inhibited.
—Consider both the physical and cultural proximity of a school; select programs, events, and other events, campus organizations, and other extracurricular activities.
—Understand the availability of internships, co-ops, and similar programs to support working adults, career changers, students in transition or elderly relatives.
—Research and review a class catalog and materials for a college’s programs.
—Minimize the amount of information provided in a course to avoid taking on a perceived student role of a rote memorization, or of simply reading an extensive sequence of generic materials.
—Explore the course selection as a field of possibility which can greatly enrich one’s intellectual understanding and experience.
—Understand the effectiveness of both online and interactive courses.
The Impact of Good College Experiences
—Many students graduating from a good college experience are more likely to enter and survive the U.S. workforce than students from lower quality colleges.
—Students completing a mid-level bachelor’s program have a 5.6 percent unemployment rate, and those who are taking two years or more are seeking higher levels of education to accommodate the stagnant labor market.
—All the students in undergraduate programs with at least four years of work experience can expect to earn 2.4 times as much money as their peers who will still be in school.
—Graduates of undergraduate programs with at least two years of work experience earn $3,800 more per year, and those who have earned seven or more years of work experience earn $9,000 more per year than their peers with less than two years of work experience.
—Entrepreneurship students with at least two years of work experience earn 75 percent more per year than other undergraduate programs with no additional coursework requirements.
—Most students who complete a two-year, community college-level program will then transfer to a four-year institution, which eliminates the need for some remedial courses and completes the education mission of that school.
Showing that College Starts At Home
While no single item is going to address the enormous array of social and financial challenges confronting our country’s struggling economy, a College Education Act that addresses such needs is well within our reach.
This proposed act would ensure that students in all communities have access to a strong, supportive environment which will enable them to grow, and achieve higher levels of emotional self-awareness and confidence, personal responsibility, humility, moral development, self-actualization, self-awareness, self-reflection, self-inquiry, self-mastery, creativity, innovation, adaptive problem solving, leadership, problem solving, teamwork, and ability to adapt and thrive in spite of the challenges they face in their educational lives.
This act, which was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives in June of this year, would reallocate the total appropriation for education — that is, money from grants to states, school districts, and colleges — from 20 percent to 30 percent, enabling the financing of programs in ways that continue to invest in the future of education. If such a combined dedication can be achieved in Washington, D.C., it would generate important changes in the economic landscape of our nation.
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