Thursday, July 14, 2011

Agueda's Thoughts: More Fee Hikes

    The type of work Youth Mentoring Connection does is life-changing and life-saving. I believe that in order to be able to do such great work that also comes from a good place individual’s need proper training and education on the issues that our communities are facing. Many of us come from such communities, therefore, we have experienced the issues first hand, but regardless of this, being able to critically reflect and analyze your experience is crucial. There are many college courses, professors, advisors, etc who can provide such things for an individual and being able to have those resources at your disposal is an issue of accessibility and equity for our communities.
    Both the UC and Cal State systems recently approved additional fee hikes for the 2011-2012 academic year. The announcements were made this week, just weeks before the year is to begin.  For people who come from a low-income background such notifications can be alarming and can cause panic. How can a family who is barely making ends meet come up with an extra $500-600 in a matter of weeks? Many families do not have disposable income and do not have the liberty to simply set aside money for short-noticed expenses.
    Now, considering all this, how are individuals who are interested in doing social justice work supposed to get the education and training needed to be most effective in the communities they work with when they can barely afford college? How can individuals move up in the social ladder and give back at the same time when their access to so many resources is limited?
    The 9.6% increase the UC Regents recently approved along with the 12% increase the Cal State board approved both will be on top of the previous fee hikes both systems had previously approved for this upcoming academic year. Issues of accessibility and equity have been present within our higher education system for years but fee hikes like these will only create more issues for communities of color.
    Such fee hikes will make it extremely hard if not impossible for many to attend a 4-year institution after high school or transfer from a community college.  This issue goes beyond economic disparities; fee hikes continue to create access for some groups and continue decreasing and limiting the access to higher education to many other groups.  How can those groups whose access is limited be fair competitors in the current job market, do good work, or simply get by? 


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