Public Universities Are Failing the Public
The path to success has always followed a predictable pattern: go to school, and get good grades. Attend college and find a good job. Get a good job and give back to your community.
The college degree serves as the pivot point in the progression.
Your bachelor’s degree demonstrates your ability to learn a subject thoroughly. It gives you a common grounding in history, philosophy, and psychology. Your degree indicates that you can commit to achieving your goals over several years and that you understand the value of deferring gratification.
College degrees enable graduates to improve their socioeconomic status and care for themselves, their families, and their communities. Despite this, public universities fail their one and only customer: the general public. What makes this possible?
Fail #1: Budget cuts and tuition hikes
Public universities are supposed to be public learning institutions. These institutions are typically far less expensive than their private counterparts. In short, a public school can put a college degree within most Americans’ reach.
On the other hand, budget cuts have led colleges to look for new sources of money in recent years. Some colleges have turned to alternative revenue streams to staunch the financial bleeding, but the majority have resorted to tuition hikes.
By raising tuition, public schools turn their backs on the people who need a college education the most.
Fail #2: Biased benefits
Many students are only able to attend university because of financial aid. When wealthy students have the same access to subsidies, grants, and other tuition discounts as poorer students, they gain a competitive advantage in various ways.
For starters, they can spend someone else’s money rather than their own. More importantly, these students are siphoning money away from students who require financial assistance far more urgently than they do.
If a low-income learner does not receive adequate financial aid, they will be unable to attend college and complete a degree.
Fail #3: Inadequate awareness
When applying to colleges, low-income students tend to avoid setting lofty goals. They apply to smaller, less well-known colleges, which are not a good fit for their skills and goals. These students simply do not realize they are qualified to attend more prestigious universities. Better schools are more likely to assist a higher proportion of their students in graduating.
Universities should target students with awareness campaigns that demonstrate how a four-year degree from a four-year institution of higher learning is the key to long-term success.
If public universities do anything less, they perpetuate the cycle of failure among the population that most desperately needs college degrees.