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Financial shortage creates lack of opportunity

by Breonnah Colón - Lifestyles Editor
Tue, Feb 13th 2018 10:00 pm

Students of color may be feeling out of place within the college community, either due to lack of their traditional heritage being apparent, an inability to integrate themselves into their new environment, or intolerance and prejudices they may face as a result of being from a different background. 

While many students of color may feel their experience is isolated only to their own personal lives, research shows these issues are actually very prevalent across the country. 

The fact of the matter is that students of color tend to be a minority group on every campus of higher education, and this is not without reason. The social stigmas and stereotypes that face different ethnic groups overall tend to have real world effects, specifically on the chances of minority children not only attending college, but also doing well within society. 

Too often, most students of color consider the fact that they’re in college a miracle in and of itself, and as a result, their level of success struggles. 

At this point is where many students of color get lost. You see, the battle as most people see it is nowhere near over. In fact, at this point, it’s just beginning.

According to an article from league.org, “while higher education is rich in diversity and rewards, it can be particularly arduous for first-generation college students [because] historically, postsecondary education opportunities have been limited for certain ethnic and racial populations and for those of lower socioeconomic status.”

While getting into college was difficult to do in the first place for many students of color, maintaining an adequate collegiate success rate is very close to impossible. We see this in the fact that opposed to the average GPA of white students in college, which is around 3.0, those for students of color are significantly lower, with an average around 2.7 for Hispanic students and 2.5 for Black/African American students, according to statistics provided by nces.ed.gov

Your GPA certainly doesn’t measure your self-worth, but it does show how an individual can maintain the standards set by their university in order to do well. 

If we hone down our view and look on at The College at Brockport, we see the same sorts of trend: a white majority student body making up more than 70 percent, and minority groups like Black/African American making up just over 11 percent, while Hispanics/Latinos making less than 7 percent of the entire college population according to collegedata.com.

There are several factors that play into why our colleges are functioning this way. Students of color disproportionately face more obstacles than white students on average. Beyond mere racial profiling, most Hispanic and black students lack proper pre-college education to be prepared to enter into the realm of higher education, setting them up already lagging behind their white counterparts. 

We also see finance to be a very prevalent and impactful issue regarding college success. While college is expensive for all of us, first-generation students of color are hit the hardest by this financial hurdle.

 Typically, first-generation college students who come from minority backgrounds tend to also come from impoverished communities. Requiring aid in the form of grants, loans and scholarships, these individuals can very easily face dropping out if they cannot obtain outside financial aid because their families cannot contribute to their education. 

Another factor that heavily impacts the success rate of students of color is lack of familial support throughout their time in college. 

Since many students of color tend to be first-generation students, their family’s are not equipped to help them deal with the changes that come with attending college, whether this be socially, economically or  financially. 

As a result, students do not have a steady foundation to fall on when they experience adversity and can become so overwhelmed, they feel they cannot continue on with their college career.

Looking at these facts and statistics, it may seem easy to get overwhelmed by the racial disparity within college communities; however, it is important for students to remember the benefit of attending and graduating college as well as the sorts of organizations and options available to help students of all backgrounds to succeed. 

Options such as scholarships, tutoring and meeting with departments such as financial aid or career services can help to give students a stronger grasp on how to meet their own goals, as well as steps to take in order to complete graduation.

College is an extremely important and life altering experience that not many around the world don’t often get the chance to attain. Within this very country, many people still don’t have the privilege to obtain a degree of higher education. 

Unfortunately, people of color tend to struggle more with this issue. While many of us tend to feel ostracised in this struggle, we certainly are not alone. It’s important to remember that students of color are worth just as much as any other students. We can strive to achieve just the same goals and despite the fact that we face much more frequent obstacles, we continue on knowing no one will pave the way for us.

 

lifestyles.editor@gmail.com

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