Higher Education

President Speaks: Higher education shouldn’t perpetuate privilege. It should lift up those who would benefit the most.

Thomas Parham is the president of California State College, Dominguez Hills. 

On many faculty and college campuses throughout the nation, the discharge of latest collegiate rankings is a celebrated event. Prestigious universities usually tout their low admission charges, selectivity ratios, and the excessive common GPAs and standardized take a look at scores of their incoming lessons as a measure of their establishment’s energy. 

These rankings replicate an consequence that increased schooling establishments might search. Nevertheless, measuring value with exclusivity and selectivity merely replicates inequality and privilege in a better schooling sector that claims to embrace fairness and inclusion.

At California State College, Dominguez Hills, we eschew selectivity in favor of inclusivity and offering equitable entry to schooling for everybody who needs it. There’s nothing admirable in turning away these trying to higher themselves and their communities.

Thomas Parham

Thomas Parham

Permission granted by CSU Dominguez Hills


Within the aftermath of the 1965 Watts Riot — a collection of violent confrontations over six days between cops and residents of predominantly Black neighborhoods in South Los Angeles —  our college moved to its present location in Carson, California, with the said purpose of extending entry to communities sorely missing in assets or viable academic choices. They deserved and wanted accessible pathways to increased schooling and upward mobility.

Having not too long ago been ranked second on public coverage suppose tank Third Approach’s Financial Mobility Index, which showcased faculties that present a fast return on funding to low-income college students, CSU Dominguez Hills is immediately persevering with its historic mission. 

We serve an undergraduate inhabitants with a singular constellation of things: the vast majority of our college students are underrepresented minorities, almost half are the primary of their household to attend faculty and a major proportion require developmental help so as to change into college-ready. Notably, 58% of our college students are additionally Pell-eligible, and most of these have an anticipated household contribution of between $0 to $2,000.  

Low-income college students have probably the most to realize from increased schooling, however their restricted monetary assets additionally make them much less probably than their friends to pursue a level. In the event that they do enroll at a college, these limitations and burdens nonetheless exist. Meals and housing insecurity, job pressures and cash worries can overshadow their research, making them extra weak to falling behind academically. To serve populations like these, faculties must transcend simply offering diploma applications to make sure college students’ holistic, myriad wants are met.

We additionally perceive that for a lot of, increased schooling has change into a burden because of the specter of scholar debt. Frankly, acquiring an schooling at a considerable variety of universities is out of attain to many just because they can not afford it and don’t wish to go into debt for the remainder of their lives so as to acquire it. 

Unsurprisingly, this lack of affordability disproportionately impacts low-income college students. A latest examine by the Nationwide Faculty Attainment Community reveals that solely 24% of public four-year colleges have been inexpensive for the typical Pell Grant recipient. Affordability gaps, or the quantity of unmet monetary want college students face, are additionally on the rise, with a median hole at four-year establishments of $2,627. For college students and households who earn lower than $40,000 a yr, this can be a vital monetary burden. 

This actuality has sparked a nationwide dialog concerning the scholar debt disaster — for it’s certainly a disaster — and what must be carried out about it. With the Biden-Harris administration’s scholar mortgage forgiveness program being hung up in federal courts, this second represents some of the essential reckonings for increased schooling that we now have seen in many years. 

What precisely is the worth and objective of a school schooling? For us, schooling just isn’t merely a prerequisite for a job, however the cultivation of the human spirit and human potential that fuels profession alternatives for a lifetime.

Regardless that CSU Dominguez Hills has comparatively low tuition and payment charges — at simply over $7,000 a yr —  some college students nonetheless must take out loans to cowl their prices after monetary help is utilized. 

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