Thursday, October 27, 2005

Access = Opportunity?

Access to college education is important, but access isn't everything.

I wrote yesterday about Rep. Emanuel and Sen. Edwards' calls for universal access to college education.

But today I read this article which highlights a major pitfall of such proposals.

Students from poorer homes pay more for higher education in Scotland and tend to take any job available to try to clear their debts, a study suggests.

Their report, Early labour-market experiences of graduates from disadvantaged families, said fewer than six in 10 were in a graduate-status occupation a year after graduating.

So 40% of those studied were no better off with their degree than without it. I wonder if any similar studies exist in America. My guess is that that figure would be far higher on this side of the Atlantic.

One of the author's of the study had this to say:

"The lesson for policy makers is that their support for wider access needs to be matched with fairer funding arrangements."

More Pell Grants, more Teach for America programs, more proactive government involvement to make sure that students who earn a college degree get more out of it than debt.


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