Howard University President, Dr. Wayne Frederick, recently made a suggestion about something that President Barack Obama can add to his plan to improve higher education.
Obama is looking to make community colleges across the country free to students that maintained good grades while in high school. Frederick wants the President to consider adding HBCU’s under that umbrella, according to NBC4.
On the surface level this is an optimistic suggestion with the best intentions. Education is becoming more of a convenience in other countries and across the globe while student loan debt and attempts to dismantle affirmative action in college admissions are seemingly working to make it more difficult here in the U.S.
Ideally, if a country wants to be in a better position in the future, it should work to raise its collective intelligence. The best way to do that is by making education accessible to the masses. As it currently stands, education is more of a privilege than a right.
Presidential candidates, like Bernie Sanders, are using the promise of free higher education as a campaign slogan because people want to be able to get an education without having to compromise their financial futures. Obamas’s plan to make community college free could be the start of that process.
Now, if we’re looking realistically, the chances of Frederick’s proposition coming into fruition anytime soon aren’t too high. Convincing people that spending up to $60 billion in ten years for free community college as a valid long term investment is a difficult enough task. When you add in four-year institutions that would likely have higher tuition for longer periods of time, that task becomes astronomically larger.
“The students who come to Howard represent those from the lower socio-economic status in our undergrad population,” Frederick said to NBC4.
“If we don’t have the historically black colleges and universities as places these students can be taken in, we certainly will be educating less people of color,” he continued.
Regardless, Frederick bringing up this suggestion now is a good strategic move for a very worthy cause. The idea is now out for consideration and will likely get backing with time. Accessible and free education on all levels is the eventual goal that everyone could benefit from.
With HBCU’s primarily targeting black students and seeing a 10 percent increase in graduation rates for those with full rides, offering free tuition across the board could do wonders.
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