The Marriam-Webster online dictionary defines higher education as “education beyond the secondary level; especially : education provided by a college or university. “ It’s no secret to modern students that a higher education is necessary to advance in their professional life. There is always a cost to advancement and that cost can sometimes create a glass ceiling that is difficult for people in certain social strata to break through.
The rising cost of higher education and its requirement for jobs creates a conflict for people in lower economic brackets. While the social value of higher education is difficult to argue against, the problems associated with affording higher education are very real social problems that must be considered. In Western society we have goals we are expected to achieve. At a very early age we begin preparing our children for school. There is no law demanding that children attend a specific school, nor that upon entering adult life they pursue higher education.
Children can be home schooled or attend any school of their parents’ choosing. However, having a degree of some kind gives one many advantages in America. One who possesses a degree has a better chance of finding a successful money-making career. This, of course, is a crucial step to meeting society’s general standards, and living a life that resembles the ideal. The fact that extensive knowledge like that has become so highly respected reflects well on the values of our culture. Higher education has become the key to social and economic advancement.
A well educated person can better process the information in front of them, and this is good for society in general. Those who possess higher-level educations are considered qualified for certain jobs and tasks that others lacking such would not be. Education levels that were once considered necessary only for advancement to the highest levels of society are now necessary for becoming gainfully employed in professions that used to require far fewer years of education. This creates a more savvy employee, but also forces people into classifications that may not reflect their true skills or abilities.
Many human resources department demand minimum educational requirements, usually completion of a college degree, even to be considered for jobs that in many cases do not even utilize the skills gained during the education they are requiring. This creates a problem for people who can’t afford a higher education but could enter the skilled labor force on the basis of their skills alone: they are often restricted from becoming gainfully employed in professions they might otherwise be ideal for.
As a response to this, many larger organizations have created higher education reimbursement programs where the organizations pay for the employee to become educated. Due to the cost, there are only so many people who can join these programs on any given year and the employee must prove to human resources that they are worth hiring without a degree in the first place. This may be a problematic situation for many people. The price we pay for education is steadily increasing, and it will continue to do so.
Those coming from a low income families have less of an opportunity to get into college, particularly the colleges they may wish to attend. There is greater competition for placement at leading schools. With larger percentages of the student body seeking educations from leading institutions, fewer people are accepted into colleges that are their primary choices. Those who do get into the schools they wish to attend, then have to consider paying for their education.
Scholarships are an option available to many, but it is very rare for a scholarship to pay for the student’s entire educational career, or even the bulk of it. As a result, many students take out loans to become educated. The vast majority of the members of my generation that choose to attend college and gain a higher education will ultimately enter the workforce in considerable debt. This is done in the hopes that they will find a job immediately out of college in their chosen career, and they expect to be able to begin paying off their debt immediately.
For many this does not happen and the debt generated becomes a considerable burden on them. For families haunted by poor economic conditions, financing a higher education using student loans is a gamble. When investing in something so important to shape my future career I want something I know will work, but not every one with a degree is guaranteed a good steady career. Devoting myself to such a considerable expense like that involves risks.
While it’s true that risk is necessary to get ahead in life, this risk has caused problems for people and it may leave you feeling cheated out of your money if you can’t get a good job in the field of your choice. The quality of education is also a consideration for someone entering college. If you wind up getting a bad teacher, it may cause bitterness if the experience had a negative effect on your education. We all have had our share of bad teachers, but for some this causes more strife than others..
One time I had a teacher who didn’t teach but gave out materials and work assignments demanding improvement without consideration to student understanding, so if we did well or improved then good, if not too bad its our own fault. The increased need for more educators as a result of increased student population may be causing colleges and universities to hire teachers who may not be the quality of educator that they would otherwise higher. So while the cost of education is increasing, the quality of education is regarded by many to be decreasing.
While higher education is far from perfect, it is still necessary for people to advance, both from a career and a personal perspective. The cost of higher education may prohibit people in lower social classes from partaking in career paths they may otherwise have enjoyed. The quality of education relative to the cost is also considered to be a modern problem. Those who get beyond these issues will still gain considerable debt as a result of their educational career. Even given these problems, the value of getting a higher education is still unquestionable.