Budget surplus can pave the way to higher education

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In summary

Eliminating administrative fees and penalties at state colleges and universities would remove stumbling blocks for students at risk.

By Su Jin Gatlin Jez, Special about CalMatters

Su Jin Gatlin Jez is the Executive Director of California Competes: Higher Education for a Strong Economy, [email protected]

The state’s staggering budget surplus and historic unemployment rates illustrate the rift between the haves and the haves in California: a gap of $ 76 billion separates them wealthy elites made up of underpaid workers. Vulnerable Californians have been hit hard by the pandemic, and our colleges and universities must work to bridge that gap. especially for students who are forced to interrupt their education.

Armed with more budget Surplus should universities Roll out the red carpet for a new wave of college students – unemployed Californians, underpaid basic workers, and anyone else “dropping out”. of post-secondary education. We need to make higher education more flexible and manageable for the millions of Californians who now have the promise of new college funding.

California Competes research highlights the unique challenges faced by students who exit college prior to graduation. These barriers are shortcomings of colleges and universities, not students – and good policies can secure their futures in higher education and careers beyond.

Universities need to investigate how long-standing policies inadvertently limit access and, ultimately, success. To the For example, a small fine to the library can be anything to remove some students from college indefinitely if it delays the receipt of credits or prevents further enrollment. Many colleges have already written off this and other administrative debts off their books, but they still hold students accountable at too high stakes to repay them.

Debt relief helps students, of course, but colleges and universities also have a lot to gain. When Wayne State University in Detroit canceled outstanding amounts for dropout students, it scored in the first seven months of the thanks to increased enrollments – and also the degrees increased.

Higher education has other ways to be flexible, such as with enrollment ramps. students usually have limited chances of entering college each year; most University of California campuses offer only one enrollment option in the fall. and California community colleges typically have two to four enrollment points. If applicants are ready to start in March, they will wait until June to actually enroll. Forcing students to wait up to a year from application to enrollment discourages potential graduates from re-enrolling or re-enrolling in some cases.

The Accelerated College Education program at Shasta College has had Success through these and other student-centered changes. It also helps students get credits for college-level learning outside of the classroom and move towards graduation faster With additional advice, shorter terms and predictable course offers.

California’s economic and opportunity outlook is dire if we ignore these trends and opportunities and leave so many high school graduates behind. With an average personal income of $ 26,359, adults ages 25-54 with a high school degree but no associate or bachelor’s degree make less than half of what college graduates do, often worse paid service and production jobs, and are more likely to be unemployed. Most of these potential graduates live in urban areas, and they comprise 71% of Latinx Californians and 61% of Black Californians. Rural areas like the Central Sierra, Northern California, and the Upper Sacramento Valley have much higher concentrations and far fewer post-secondary options.

As businesses grow, they strengthen communities and improve the overall quality of life in their region – but they cannot grow without skilled talent. A college educated staff member helps everyone bottom line.

We have the opportunity to change our system for the better and we know it will pay off. Reach out to government decision-makers and university leaders to urge them to change bureaucratic structures that put institutional facilitation above student needs. Acting now could make a big difference for students as early as this fall.



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