“Education then, beyond all other devices of human origin, is a great equalizer of the conditions of men…” Horace Mann, 1848
What is the expression? Fail to plan, plan to fail! I have been amazed by the students I have met in registration lines, in advising centers, or even the first week of class who had no idea of why they were there—except that someone else, obviously important in their lives, told them that they should go to college or get training! Maybe it was a parent, brother or sister, counselor or teacher, probation officer or judge, or their best friend. Regardless of whom it was, their reason for being there was not well thought out. And it did not take long for their lack of planning for what was about to happen to them to catch up with them.
In most surveys of why college students do not succeed, money or lack of ability to pay for their education is either number one or near the top of the list. Yes, academic skills affect students’ success. And we will talk about that fact a little later. But what is emerging as an alarming trend these days is a student’s economic status is more and more affecting their chances of success.
The reality these days, given the fact that the cost of education and training after high school has gotten so out of control, is that if students do not have the money to continue their studies in the time it takes to get the money they can lose interest, credits, knowledge and momentum. Too often many students never find their way back. And way too often they carry the debt of their failed experiences into jobs paying much less than the careers for which they were studying.