For generations, community colleges have served as the gateway to higher education for millions of Americans. Their commitment to open access coupled with financial support from local funds have stimulated local economies and made dreams come true for people who would have otherwise never imagined college to be a reality. The same holds true today — but for fewer students each year. Budget cuts across the nation are resulting in a rationing of enrollments and who will be admitted to community colleges in the future is a hot topic today.
A report released yesterday from the Center for the Future of Higher Education, Closing the Door, Increasing the Gap, stresses the importance of critically examining who could be left out if access to higher education is rationed and what encourages us to ponder the effects that the rationing process would have on society longterm. The report states, “We are living in a time of growing gaps between the rich and the rest – gaps that have not been seen since the Great Depression. Since the largest growth in traditional age students is among lower-income, first-generation, students of color, and immigrants, they will be impacted the most. Rationing college by social class and ethnicity results in a higher education system that will increase the gap between the 1% and the rest in ever more extreme ways.”
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