Education in Forming Class Distinctions by Sequoia Shirley

The United States encourages the pursuit of education as a way of escaping from one’s economic class and having access to more opportunities. While this is somewhat accurate, unfortunately, access to certain places of higher education are still reserved for the wealthy classes. There has been a widening gap between the rich and the poor in terms of higher education wherein the rich are more often able to attend prestigious universities, graduate, and secure jobs in very affluent areas. However, the poor do not have this opportunity because of the increasing struggle to maintain a good gpa in college while working to pay for their education, and having increasing debt while in school. Though students from both economic classes have opportunities to pursue higher education, it has become increasingly difficult for students that come from lower economic classes to maintain success in higher education as neighborhoods continue to be divided by class, making class distinctions more apparent, and decreasing motivation for lower-income students.


Less than 30 percent of students from lower-income households enroll in universities, and even less than that graduate. This suggests that there is a correlation between income and academic achievement. Students from wealthier families greatly surpass students from lower-income families in education, not because of the superiority of knowledge but because of the influence of family, social relations, and instructors in higher education. Many students of lower-income families would also advance in education if they had greater support from family, good instructors in higher education, and if they had strong social ties with already successful people. However, even those students of the poorer class that do reach academic success and wish to continue higher education at prominent universities such as Harvard or Yale have their seat taken up by a rich student whose parents have close social relations with the school faculty.

America must have equal access to higher education for all students of various economic backgrounds in order for the “American Dream” to actually be valid.


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