The following info-graphic was emailed to me by a fellow from Degreejungle.com. As you can imagine, I felt like a super important and revered blogger slash political commentator by being asked to blog my reaction to it. Yes, I’m aware they’re more interested in getting my readers to their website than any “commentary” I might produce, but it’s actually a very useful resource for prospective college students. If college is – or may be – in your future, give them a visit.
On second thought, bookmark it. I know none of you will actually use it unless you absolutely have to at this moment. But really, you’re going to wind up using a similar website eventually, and they’re legitimately better than the others.
But I digress.
My response: Holy fuck.
Note the lack of an exclamation point. This doesn’t exactly shock me. Everyone knows college is super expensive. However, laying the data out in this way punctuates the issues that arise from such a capital-centric system of education. Besides the absurdly exorbitant financial figures this graphic exhibits, it elucidates something else: the importance of scholarships, grants, and – to a lesser extent – loans on upward mobility in a society.
Take President Obama. His success in politics predicated his success in college and grad-school. Without the education, public office wouldn’t likely have been in his future. But he didn’t have parents who could afford to send him. What should happen in situations like this? Believe it or not, there are a lot of people out there who think nothing should happen. No money, no education.
Never mind the extreme anti-meritocratic reality of such convenient inaction. Who wants to live in a society where an 18-year-old with shitty grades and wealthy parents is more entitled to advanced education than is an 18-year-old with straight “A’s” and impecunious parents. Which 18-year-old do you think will receive such a gift more seriously? Which do you think will utilize the potential of such a gift more effectively?
Luckily, society had begun to embrace an important principle of education by the time Obama reached college age. The idea that when a prospective student meets all requirements of admittance to an institution, but lacks the ability to pay, there should be options available to allow the student to attend. It ensures that every individual in society is given a [relatively] equal opportunity to prove their capabilities. To prove their worthiness to the society and economy they’re about to join. That way the roles that must be filled in society end up being filled by those with the best natural ability, rather than by those with the mere ability to pay.
Just my thoughts on the matter.