I actually grew up in a household that could be referred to as less-than-middle-class. After my parents divorced, my mom received aid like food stamps and AFDC to help care for my brother and me. My dad was associated with an experiment in rural residing that was similar to the “voluntary simplicity” movement: he heated with wood and disdained running water and indoor plumbing for several years – in the Upper Midwest. Neither of my parents had finished high school, yet both ultimately obtained GEDs or the equivalent.
I pretty much paid my own method through college.
Used to do so with a combination of loans, grants, part-time jobs and a couple scholarships. Within retrospect, I wish I had obtained more guidance — as well as a lot more non-loan aid, but c’est una vie — however , I am thankful for the advice I received from teachers, counselors and others, like our step mother who had done the whole college/financial aid application carousel.
I didn’t go to any of the schools I applied to. I simply picked the one that seemed best and showed up for orientation. I completed my undergraduate degree in just over 5 years and went on our merry way. Because of the opportunities that their mom and I have had, my children will have much greater opportunity than we did. And I am actually thankful for that.
Yet, there are many who won’t even have the chance at college that I had because the higher ed landscape is so various today. College costs, financial aid quagmires, declining graduation rates and insufficient information, guidance and adequate planning at the high school level all conspire to keep bright, otherwise-qualified students from attending college.
Regardless of all the negative news surrounding higher ed and underprivileged students getting left behind, there are some bright spots to become thankful for. In the wake of a Ny Times report earlier this year, Harvard as well as other Ivies have stepped up their own efforts to work with underfunded high institutions to identify bright students who may not have had the means or assistance to know that they could attend such prestigious schools.
Even though the sequester slashed many financial aid programs, and the second round of cuts harnesses, Congress did get off their hands long enough to do something about the student loan interest rates that doubled on Come july 1st 1 — due to their own insufficient prior action. Sometimes the things to become thankful for are small…
The Bill and Melinda Entrance Foundation, a global leader in education advocacy, has funded a number of tasks that will offer guidance in reshaping the way our education and financial aid systems work. Examining subjects like progress-based financial aid, and bigger credit score loads to move students through university in 4 years, Gates-funded endeavours have offered Congress several innovative viewpoints as they prepare to reauthorize the Higher Education Act (HEA). The particular President’s own higher education initiatives can use a little of the innovation demonstrated with the Gates initiatives. I am thankful that there are organizations out there willing to fund and perform the research to look at ways to improve our higher ed and financial aid systems.
Finally, The usa recently set an depressing report when the number of homeless students across the nation reached an all-time high this past year. More than 1 . 1 million college students in preschool or K-12 were homeless during the 2011-12 school 12 months, fully 2 percent of all college students in the nation.
In response, Democratic Sens. Patty Murray (WA), Mary Landrieu (LA), and Tammy Baldwin (WI) introduced the Higher Education and learning Access and Success for Destitute and Foster Youth Act upon Thursday in an effort to help homeless college students be able to afford and attend university.
Currently, there are many hurdles which are unique to homeless youth which make it more difficult both to get to college and to stay afloat once they’re presently there. Many have difficulty establishing residency to be able to qualify for in-state tuition, and they must have their status as independent college students without parental support re-determined each year. This bill would remove those barriers, providing in-state tuition with regard to homeless and foster youth and allowing their unaccompanied status to become set in perpetuity.
In addition , the bill would help homeless and foster youth find casing both during the school year and between terms. And it would advise the General Accounting Office to conduct more research on education developments among homeless and foster college students so further outreach can be offered.
Reading about applications like this reminds me that I possess much to be thankful for in my very own life; and makes me thankful for the people out there who are still dedicated to improving the lives of unlucky individuals through education and chance.