Dear Governors, Here Is How You Can Help More Poor Students Attend College

If you’re looking to improve the quality of life for those living in your state, begin by helping more poor students attend college.

Here’s how:

Provide financial aid to those who need it the most

Scholarships, loans, and grants can help to make college more affordable for those who need it the most. Governors, make sure that these forms of aid are based on need or performance, but most importantly, help poor students understand that if they want to go to college, there is a way. Some of these opportunities include:

  • State grants
  • Teacher education assistance
  • Military service grants
  • Offsets for additional expenses

Students can’t apply for them if they don’t know they exist

Eliminate the limbo of remedial courses

Remedial classes are an expense poor students can’t afford. Three out of every five students enrolled at a community college are required to take at least one remedial course.

Classes designed to bring students up to par with university learning standards are built on good intentions, but in reality, are more detrimental than helpful. Remedial courses cannot be taken for college credit. As a result, they waste time and money that could be spent pursuing a college education.

If students could take their remedial classes outside the university system, the bridge between high school and college would be less costly and more effective.

Low income does not mean low cost or low prestige

Far too often, poor students set their sights low because they don’t want to incur more debt than necessary. While that’s a smart way to mitigate financial risk, students from low-income households are selling themselves short when selecting their colleges.

They may be surprised to know they qualify for more financial aid if they choose to attend universities with more prestige and higher tuitions. The return on investment can offset the initial expenses of their degrees.

Students need to know what their options are, and you Governor can assist with that by funding outreach programs that address the issue in high school.

Cutting money from education budgets mean eliminating opportunity

People get it. Times are tough, but reducing the amount of funding allocated for schools may resuscitate the bottom line, but it doesn’t help the average citizen get ahead. Improving one’s outlook is even harder for poor students, and cutting funding for higher education virtually eliminates a poor student’s prospects for going to college and creating a better life for himself or herself, much less the surrounding community.

Begin early

Preparation for college doesn’t commence in one’s junior or senior year. Even 9th and 10th grades are too late.

Helping disadvantaged students attend college begins in early childhood. Students from low-income backgrounds need high-quality early childhood education as a way to level the playing field and give them the start they need.

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