Low-income students working to obtain a college degree make enormous sacrifices to invest in themselves.
Federal, state and institutional policymakers, along with community-based advocates like Carver need to do more to invest in them as well. Our youth need financial aid policies and direct support such as Carver scholarships that reflect the full scope of the affordability challenges that our students face. Our students need Pell grants that keep pace with the rising cost of attendance and increasingly expensive non-tuition costs. And they need a major investment in need-based financial aid that better reflects today’s students.
There are many studies that speak to these realities, and not a few editorials such as this recent one in The New York Times by Anthony Abraham Jack.
Now, as a professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, I teach a course I’ve titled C.R.E.A.M. (Cash Rules Everything Around Me) — borrowing the title of that still-relevant Wu-Tang Clan track — in which we examine how poverty shapes the ways in which many students make it to and through college. Admission alone, as it turns out, is not the great equalizer. Just walking through the campus gates unavoidably heightens these students’ awareness and experience of the deep inequalities around them.
This report from the Pew Research Center found that the overall number of undergraduates at U.S. colleges and universities has increased during the past 20 years, with students of color and those from low-income families making up much of that growth. But those students are mostly attending the least-selective colleges and universities, which tend to have fewer resources to help students succeed.
Since 2005, 100% of Carver seniors have graduated high school on time, and almost all become first generation college students. But that is not the end of the relationship for Carver. To date, 85% of our Carver college students graduate from four-year colleges and universities within six years and many of them received financial support and personal advocacy from Carver throughout those years. We need to do more. We as a community can do more. Your financial support of Carver youth endures beyond high school. Your generosity Builds Lifetime Achievers who go on to impact our community for generations to come.