Higher education is one of the most important aspects that people consider in their lives. It is expected that once a student graduates from high school, they will get an opportunity to expand their knowledge via the higher learning. The education is expected to enhance their lives through putting the learners in a higher position in the labor market. In fact, many students are forced to take up loans to finance their greater learning in the hope of a better future once they graduate. However, this has now not always been the case with many students left to wonder if it used to be actually necessary for them to take the loans in the first place. In fact, it questions the rationale behind the essence of the whole higher learning process. Many scholars have been attracted to study the different aspects of the higher education in line with how it can be improved to support the needs of the learners and prepare them for the future job markets.
One issue that faces the higher learning is the financing that in most cases has affected the students significantly. The government has not done enough to subsidize the loans to support the learning of the students at the higher level. In most cases, students are left with a debt of more than $150,000 once they graduate. Such huge debts accumulated through the higher education renders the graduates as slaves of debts which they take a good number of years before they can settle the loans. The US loan system allows the private lenders to charge steep rates making it unbearable to the majority of the students. Unfortunately, the unfair charges are unplayable for a while to many who have no income or at least any considerable income or at least before they get assimilated into the job market.
Addison argues that community college system has turned to a public service gem (2007). It is apparent that majority of the students prefer the system because of its fair price as compared to other universities. Evidently, Addison joins hands with other scholars who explore the issue of the higher learning in the US noting that majority of the learners are unable to access the best leaning due to high costs associated. Public institutions are equally as expensive as private institutions with the majority of the learners finding it very hard to pay for their college tuition. It is; therefore, essential that community college is made more accessible since they are the ones that seem a bit cheaper and accessible to many students. Students from the low-income societies should have the ability to access the community college to foster their competitiveness in the job market. This will go hand in hand in providing equity in the society particularly regarding the fairness in the job distribution between the least privileged in the society and those from wealthy families.
Addison views community college as the best alternative to the four-year university studies. The application process of the community college is entirely different from the very demanding universities. It is evident that the word college becomes a reality check for many high school students particularly when the students realize they are not able to pay for the expensive university tuition or when the student has failed to get the required points to join the preferred university to take on the desired degree course. Evidently, Lid Addison in her short essay she concludes that community college system gives students an affordable yet accessible future through her learning as opposed to the four-year university system which is not affordable to many students from the needy families.
Murray notes that there is a significant number of students entering the college perhaps indicating the importance of the college education (p. 10). Hrabowski also shows that education is not a waste of time and those who believe otherwise fail to see the bigger picture (259). College acts as stepping stone to future success in gaining wealth and power. Unfortunately, many people fail to understand the importance of the college education perhaps because of the many challenges that students face and in the case where students fail to secure jobs upon graduation. These difficulties; however, should never be used as a justification for students failing to attend higher education. That is why Hrabowski advocates for a college education that is quite friendly to all regardless of one’s background. It is also critical to recognize that college education prepares students for jobs but more importantly for life. Work after graduation might be the starting point for a good life, but one should not be discouraged once he or she fails to get a place in the job industry. Accordingly, higher learning is presented as having the challenge of job placement as the defining term of success. Majority of people attribute getting an excellent job to have completed their requirements once they graduate from college successfully. As such, it is important to dissociate the two and encourage more students to join the community colleges to offer them an alternative learning that will offer them a better life in future. Moreover, apart from learning colleges offers students other alternatives such as sports and games that have seen some students become successful sports personalities in their careers.
Although the cost of higher education is not cheap in the American institutions, it is relevant for all students to go through the system. Hraboski says that “students should estimate the net cost…anticipated grants and loans” (260). He emphasizes that students should pay attention to subjects that are useful to them. A student can opt to use either the 4-year university or the 2-year college process depending on their abilities to finance the learning. The students can also choose between the public and the private institutions depending on their budgets or other factors that might influence their learning process. The can also apply for financial support from any lending institutions or any grants that they might find useful to them in their learning process. Evidently, despite the challenges involved in the higher learning, Hrabowski advocates for students to take it seriously and only apply for the most useful course to them to avoid wastage of time and money.
Graff notes that schools at times fail to tap into the natural intelligence and talents of some students thereby making their intelligence go to waste (21). In this old argument between “street smart” and “book smart” Graff tries to explain that intellectualism can take different forms. Importantly, he notes teaches that intellectualism should be taught to children to make them realize the potentials and the innate knowledge they possess. To him, if one can persuasively argue in about sports, music, or pop culture among others things then the person can afford to apply them the same concept of argument to others things in class or at work. Evidently, the challenges associated with learning can be improved through determination from the learner. Graff shows college student that intellectualism can be found within the everyday society; hence, students should not entirely disintegrate themselves from the society or the learning process.
In his article, Ungar discusses the misapprehension surrounding the college studies, particularly in the liberal arts subjects. He notes that some of the misapprehension ranges from the notion that liberal arts are some of the luxury courses that some people think are unaffordable at this economic situation (Ungar 191). However, he believes that people should take all the courses as equally crucial since there is no any proof that any of the course would be better than others. Importantly, Unger clears the air that college education is essential and should not be subject to people’s opinion which is not founded on any factual evidence.
Owen and Sawhill further contribute to the discussion of whether or not everyone should attend college (2013). The prerequisite is that college education acts as the key to the middle class in the US like in many other parts of the world. Many political leaders also see a college education as an essential contributor to the economic growth and as a way of alleviating people from poverty. However, the state has not adequately discovered the ways of ensuring that all people get college certification or at least those willing to attend get the opportunity. Most importantly, because not all those who wish to join college get that opportunity because of the high tuition fee associated with higher learning.
Conclusively, higher education has attracted many criticism and support from different scholars based on different attributes. Regarding the importance of the higher education, it is evident that majority of scholars are in favor noting that college education is much cheaper and affordable to more people regardless of their background. Concerning the choice, of course, to be taken that is a subject of discussion since all courses are equally crucial despite some people believing that that is not the case. The higher education is essential and should be regarded as a critical part of the society.
Addison, Liz. “Two Years Are Better Than Four.” New York Times Blog, 2007, https://essay.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/09/26/two-years-are-better-than-four/.
Graff, Gerald. Hidden Intellectualism. Duke University Press, 2001, https://muse.jhu.edu/article/26320/pdf.
Hrabowski, Freeman. “Colleges Prepare People For Life [Commentary].” Baltimoresun.Com, 2013, http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/oped/bs-ed-hrabowski-20131221-story.html.
Murray, Charles. “Are Too Many People Going To College?.” AEI, 2008, http://www.aei.org/publication/are-too-many-people-going-to-college-2/.
Owen, Stephanie, and Isabella V Sawhill. “Should Everyone Go To College?.” Brookings, 2013, https://www.brookings.edu/research/should-everyone-go-to-college/.
Ungar, Sanford J. “The New Liberal Arts.” The Chronical Of Higher Education 28 (2010).