Why It’s Difficult for Low-Income Students to Go to College
There is this popular misconception among students across the nation that college is only for those who are either the wealthiest or the most educated. But any college student who hasn’t come from money will tell you -- no matter who you are or where you come from, you can go to college. Those of us who came from a low income household were able to etch our way into school without having to pinch pennies as much as we thought we would. However initially, getting into college does prove to be a challenge in more ways than one.
One dilemma most low-income students face while applying to colleges is the initial price tag. If you checked the school's Tuition and Fees section, you start to see numbers so high you begin to consider selling your arm and leg. However what they seldom tell you is that most students don’t have to pay the full amount. Based on the amount of financial need that a college is projected to meet, most low income students only have to pay a fraction of the amount of fees it cost to go to college. For example: schools like Harvard University , Stanford University, Columbia University, and Syracuse University meet 95-100% of financial need. There are also programs like The Posse Foundation, EOP, Prep for Prep, and HEOP that help low-income students get into schools.
However, aside from the financial barrier, there is also a huge psycho-social component to applying to colleges that many individuals overlook: many students from low-income households don’t even envision college as something tangible. As opposed to middle-class and upper-class communities, where extracurricular activities are more readily available; Individuals from lower-income neighborhoods also have a very limited variation of resources, which leads some kids to seek opportunities that grant them short term and immediate success in oppose to long-term success. Because of a lack of programs that allow these kids to think otherwise, this method of thinking is constantly renewed.
How adults and parents can break this cycle is by making an attempt to put more focus into the youth -- spending more time helping kids with their homework, finding extracurricular programs for their children to attend, and also promoting professional development and introspective social skills. By helping children from these communities to truly understand and actualize their self-worth, they can take on the various challenges of life: even when the odds are against them. We at STOKED are constantly doing the same for our youth, each and every day. It really does take a village to raise a child, and here at STOKED we provide a community and a close-knit network of individuals who provide support for those who may not have such a cushion to fall back on.