Can you believe that it’s August already? Back-to-school season is officially underway, and many young adults are packing their suitcases and buying out Target in anticipation of their first year of college.
College is often considered an “awakening” period – especially for college students living on campus. They’re leaving home, and learning how to take care of themselves and be a part of a larger, more diverse community. Living on campus often means living with thousands of young people from all over the country (and even from other cultures).
Unfortunately, according to a new study by Stanford University’s Center for Education Policy Analysis, college campuses are not always as ethnically and culturally diverse as their brochures make them out to be. According to the study, which analyzed race, income and enrollment patterns at top-tier universities between 1982 and 2004, black and Hispanic students are considerably underrepresented in the United States’ most selective colleges.
Even after taking income disparities between black and white families into account, white students were five times as likely as black students to enroll in a highly selective college, and three times as likely as Hispanic students.
Stanford’s study also looked at how low-income students fared during the college application process. While scholarships, grants and other forms of financial aid are available for students who have difficulty affording a post-secondary education, only six percent of students enrolled in selective colleges came from families in the bottom quartile of income distribution.
Part of this certainly has to do with the economic downturn. While millions of adults struggle to find jobs and make ends meet, the cost of college still continues to rise. Many students, upon graduating high school, are faced with a very difficult choice: go to college and sink into debt, or earn money that can go towards supporting themselves and their family?
Communities In Schools works to make sure that all of the students we serve, regardless of race or income, are able to make their dreams of college come true. We provide them with tutors, college campus visits, assistance with college and financial aid applications, SAT prep and more. Our site coordinators have even helped students find part-time work, so that they can go to school and earn an income at the same time.
And during the 2010-2011 school year, the work certainly paid off: 81 percent of graduates monitored post-graduation went on to some form of post-secondary education.
Looking for inspiration? Read about Rey Saldaña, a Communities In Schools of San Antonio alum who utilized our resources to go to Stanford University. Now, he’s a city councilman and making a positive difference in his community.