Higher Education for All

As I was scrolling through the NCTE inbox this morning I noticed this title, “First Generation’ Documentary Raises the Question: Is Higher Education Only for the Wealthy?” It caught my attention because I hear so many people complaining about how expensive school is, student loans, dropping out becuase they can’t afford it, and that college is just simply a “waste of time.” Jaye Fenderson is a former admissions officer of Columbia University and the director/ producer of the ‘First Generation’ documentary which features four high school juniors across California and their journey on applying to colleges and other struggles along the way. Jaye found that less than 10% of college students came from the lowest income families across the United States. This is a devastating statistic and the message that it is sending out is far worse; if you do not have money, then you can’t go to college. That is not true at all!

Jaye and her husband Adam found that high income students have better access to information and more support from their families, schools, and communities. There are so many scholarships, grants, and programs available to students. Educators, community directors, and parents must help the students achieve their goals by leading them in the right direction. This documentary that has been shown to high school students in low-income areas, the students leave with their heads held high and feeling good about applying to college. It is a good feeling to know that there are other people like you in the world, struggling and dealing with lifes difficulties.

Jaye and Adam have been promoting this documentary and it shows not only the students hard times but the United States as a whole,”We also interviewed educational experts about the social and economic ramifications for the U.S. if we continue on this trend of failing to graduate more low-income students from college. The result is that our nation is on track to be short millions of college degrees, resulting in billions of dollars in loss to our economy. ” It is not just low-income communities, this has become a nation wide problem and we need to help fix it. Jaye and Adam have started a campaign for students who come from low-income families and continue to hold discussions for students who desire to go to college but are left with so many unanswered questions.


Sarah Lynch


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One response to “Higher Education for All

  1. I think it the first paragraph about students dropping out because of loans or not having money is realistic and really hits home for many Umass students and at other colleges as well. The fact of the matter is that not all students have the access to these great opportunities. Why some ask? It can be based off neighborhood, connections and so fourth. Further more not all students have parents that are around to help or have the time to assist with resources for school because they have to keep up with their household and other children within it. Would it be nice to have the support of parents financially, or in other ways?
    Yes it would but that’s not everyone’s reality. I can side with people being discouraged to continue with school, taking on loan after loan only to be left with a mountain of debt they may not be able to pay off immediately after graduating college.

    Sadly college has become an institution to those who can afford it or who don’t mind having several loans taken out for school. As far as Jaye and Adam voicing their view on the struggles of low income under privileged students it’s a nice gesture but what students in this predicament need is an alternative that cane help solve their money difficulties actual programs and non profits.
    The title Higher Education for all would be great to come to pass, yet I think it’s going to take more than a campaign. We need more grants and scholarships and perhaps fundraising nationwide for this epidemic. When we can get to the level of England where higher education is free I will be content until then thought of affording college no matter your financial class is just not realistic but a figment of my imagination.

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