Friday, July 14, 2006

Economic Status Should Not Hinder Higher Education

by Sui Lang Panoke

WASHINGTON, D.C.--Is access to graduate education exclusive to the upper class?

As a first-year graduate student struggling to make ends meet, I believe the answer to this question is yes. In my experience, searching for funding to pay the extensive costs of my higher education has been an upward climb leading only to dead ends.

I am a single mother who qualifies for the maximum amount in federal aid for graduate students. However, this amount barely covers my tuition, and the costs of housing, books, and living expenses are left entirely to me.

I have no college fund, trust, or inheritance. I don’t independently qualify for private student loans because I lack the substantial credit or the employment history that is required, and I do not have the luxury of having a willing and eligible co-signer. Furthermore, I can only work part-time jobs while in school in order to qualify for childcare assistance.


Panoke is a first-year graduate student at American University. She is working towards a Master’s degree in Public Administration with a certificate in Women, Policy, and Political Leadership through the Women & Politics Institute.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The focus upon educational equity for females through the undergraduate years has been the major and primary thrust of education, but serves merely to provide society with a higher level inequity in that there is no expectation of women in faculty or social, political or economic leadership positions.

It is not difficult to imagine a world where highly educated women are absorbed into a social and economic system at middle management levels without achieving the levels of educational and professional attainment that makes all of that education worthwhile, for the female, or the society.

In fact, it is a highly expensive exercise in futility without female ambition and aspiration that is accepted as the social norm and expectation, not the social extraordinary event.