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.

Gender Disparities Among Higher Education Faculty Demand Attention

by Julie Saad

WASHINGTON, D.C.--Lawrence Summers, the former Harvard University president who resigned earlier this year, gained notoriety for his controversial remarks on women in science. It was also publicized that the number of women faculty offered tenure had declined every year since Summers assumed the presidency in 2001. While the situation at Harvard received significant media attention, gender disparities among faculty are not unique to that institution. In fact, the trend is national.

Since 1974, the American Association of University Professors has collected data to measure trends in gender equity among full-time faculty members at public and private institutions of higher education. Historically, women have been underrepresented among the highest academic ranks and tenured positions, and have faced a significant salary gap. Despite minor improvements, inequities persist.


Saad is a graduate student at American University, where she is working on her Master of Public Administration and Graduate Certificate in Women, Policy, and Political Leadership.