Education is the foundation of development for every country and is the basis for predicting the success of a country in the future. At the current time, businesses and companies need a lot of high-quality workers, and high school diploma no longer guarantees a good paying job for a student. Therefore, the US government uses billions of dollars to promote higher education. However, this strategy still falls short because the development of education is not only about money, but it is also about the appropriateness of development strategies for different groups of students. There are many different groups of students, who face different barriers to college success, such as low-income students, first-generation students, low socioeconomic status (SES) students, or students from different races and ethnic groups. Low SES students are one of the groups that have the biggest population and face barriers the most. To create suitable strategies for low SES students, we must understand clearly about how their backgrounds have effects on academic success and how this group of students impacts on society and economy at large. Low SES students are less likely to succeed in college because they face more barriers to college success, and this is a significant problem to worry about because low SES group make many negative effects on the education system, economic and society.
Determining if college is the right fit for a student should be weighed against many factors, several mentioned here. Much effort has been put into encouraging High School graduates to go to college for academic degrees rather than for training in industrial and other trade fields that face worker shortages. The national push to get bachelor's degrees has left vocational programs with an image problem, and the nation with far fewer skilled workers than is needed.
There is a gap between low SES students’ outcome and their counterparts based on the statistic of graduation rates and drop-out rates. In 2012, there were only 14% of low SES students who attained bachelor's degree or higher while the percentage of middle SES students is 29%, and high SES students are 60%. Low SES students were more likely to quit school after high school and more likely to attain some post-secondary education than their counterparts, but they were four times less likely to achieve a bachelor's degree or higher education compared to a high SES student. Low SES students tend to attend a lower level of education than their counterparts. If they attend a bachelor's degree or advanced degree, the graduation chance of low SES students is much lower than their peers. In 2009, low-income students from the age of 19-25 were five times more likely to drop out of high school than their counterparts from high-income families. Based on two statistics from National Center of Educations Statistics, students from low SES families are more likely to drop out of school, more likely to attend lower education, and even if they attend higher education, they are less likely to complete. Low SES students are less successful in college than their peers from middle and high SES families because they face more barriers to college success.
One of the major factors that influence low SES students' decision to go to college is the financial barrier. Students from low SES families are more likely to undertake educational routes that are not as prestigious due to the financial factor, and they have lower expected levels of educational attainment as compared to middle and high SES students. Education in the US is costly, and tuition fees are the first thing that students from low SES families wonder about when choosing a college. Low SES students usually choose a lower level of education as it is cheaper and takes less time than higher education. As a result, low SES students are more likely to choose institutions that are not fit and under their educational abilities. Also, low SES students have more nutrition and health issues, and they are more likely to work more time than their counterparts while going to college. Therefore, the financial barrier makes low SES students have lower expectations, less time for school, and face more health and nutrition issues.
The second factor that makes low SES students less successful in college is psychological issues. Because socioeconomic status (SES) is based on income, education, and occupation, most low SES students are from families that have a lower level of education. According to the article Educational Background, High School Stress, and Academic Success by Morazes, students who don't have college-educated parents face more stressful events in their life; as a result, they are less likely to be successful in college than their counterparts. Low SES students have more stressful things to think about, such as making money, reaching the financial aid requirement, and family responsibility. Also, parents from low SES families usually have little experiences about college, as such, low SES students are less likely to share difficulties in college with their parents. Therefore, they have a more stressful life than their peers from middle and high SES families. As a result, low SES students usually have many issues such as feeling not belong to the college, feeling more challenging in college, and feeling not prepared enough to respond to academic challenges. Psychological issues are the main factor that makes students feeling more challenging and dropping out of college.
The third factor that contributes to this problem is academic preparation for college. According to Digest Education of Statistics, the groups of students who have a low level of parental education, and who are from low-income families have lower average SAT mean scores than their peers from high SES families, as well as the overall average SAT, mean scores. Moreover, low SES students are more likely to have a lack of social soft skills such as decision-making skills, leadership skills, or teamwork skills. The lack of academic skills as well as soft skills, is the main reason that leads to the poor outcomes of low SES students.
The percentage of jobs which require post-secondary education has increased over to almost two times from 1973 (28%) to 2018 (62%). And this number means the same as the job opportunities for people who don't have or have only a high school diploma is getting smaller (from 72% in 1973 to 38% in 2018). Moreover, workers who have a college degree earn more money than who don't, and the difference of annual earnings between workers with and without a college degree is continuously increasing ($7,499 in 1965 to $17,500 in 2012). Therefore, if low SES students are more successful in college, we will solve many problems for the economy and society of the US. First, the attainment college degree or higher will make the average income of the US increasing and the jobless rate decreasing. Second, if people who have low-income backgrounds make more money, the budget of the government for Medicaid and financial aid will be smaller. Third, if this problem can be solved, the quality of Americans life will be improving in many fields such as mental and physical health, education, individual's satisfaction, social relationships, and living environment. Fourth, if low SES students are more successful in college, the human resources of the US will grow in quality as well as quantity. Finally, the problem of low SES students is like a cycle because low SES backgrounds make students less successful in college, and the poor outcomes of students lead students to stay low SES. Therefore, the most impossible way to help low SES students get rid of their backgrounds is creating a better educational environment for them.
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