A typical college student In America
In America, a typical college student takes a minimum of two and a maximum of four years in college. Over the years between 1992 and 2002, there has been a significant increase in the number of students from all races being enrolled for a college education. For instance, in 2002 the enrollment mark was 16 million but this increased to 20 million in 2012 as shown in the “U.S. Department of Education”. (2013). The mode of study is full time and party time with full time forming the largest proportion. The increased enrollment could be attributed to population growth, for instance; the number of young adults being 18 and 24 years have risen from 28 to 31 million between 2002 and 2012 respectively as indicated in (Ebersole, 2014). However, there has been hardships for individual funding for college education among other problems facing the education sector in America. They include outdated higher education acts, inadequate workforce for higher education systems, the model of accreditation of graduates, the system is not competency based, poor assessment methods for graduates, outdated policies defining academics based on the old definition of a student (18-24). Unstable economic conditions have impacted negatively on the education sector in America.
The education system has been affected negatively by the application of outdated higher education acts. By the end of 2013, the post- American secondary law had expired. This policy encompassed a system that gives loans to students in higher education institution. The policy provision also covered the Pell grant tuition aid that included students with low and middle-income standards. Recently the Congress has been trying to renew the policies but with the busy schedule of the Congress; the whole process may be faced with delays as indicated in (Ebersole, 2014). There are other appropriation challenges and the upcoming general elections that will take place in 2016, is challenging the step to update the policies. This impact negatively on the education system with a college student from low and middle-income families not having a chance or getting a rough time pursuing the college education. Also, the Congress has been trying to make the access to college related information on convenient access for parents and their college student to make the system efficient. For instance, on selecting programs, the tuition cost related to the specific programs, available scholarships, and opportunities for loans and how to re-pay by the amount in approximation. The Obama leadership has made a significant move by launching data transparency program, for instance, a college navigation tool was established. This has been challenged by the Republicans that it gives extra information that overwhelms parents and aspiring college student in making choices concerning college education (Ebersole, 2014). This means the education system is faced with challenges some political, where the opposition does not support moves by the government, and they are probably going to fail and maintain the status quo.
The cost of college education in American for two year and fours year for public colleges are approximately 11 thousand dollar and 18 thousand dollars respectively. Over the years, there has been a reduction in support of public college education by the tax system (Strauss, 2013). This has led to college institutions increasing the tuition fees to cover the gap the incompetent tax system had left. More than 70 percent of the students in America are enrolled in public universities, which have been the most struck by the increment of fees after the government has been inadequate in helping fund the education provided in public college institutions (Strauss, 2013). This has impacted students from lower and middle-income families, by making it hard to access a quality college education.
With increased number of scholars over the years, there has been a concern over the inadequate workforce for higher education systems, there is the need to develop the workforce that meet the academic need for college students. The college education system is hiring tutors will skill, but very few match the exact required skills. Public colleges have many students than the private ones and with the challenges for sector mentioned above, poorly qualified college graduates for the job market are produced (Rosenbaum, 2004). This is a challenge facing the education sector.
The education system faces the challenge of which model to use in the accreditation of graduates. This problem has burdened the politician and the policy makers. The accreditation team should consider whether the current system is too lax or too complicated before any adjustment is done as shown in (Ebersole, 2014). The accreditation should be reliable enough to ensure only competent and qualified students are recognized for the job market.
The system is not competency based, poor assessment methods for graduates has led to increased number of graduates in the American society with small input than expected. For those regulating and responsible for accreditation of the higher education system, have a challenge for finding out what are the positive outcome after investing billions of money in higher education and the impact on the society (Ebersole, 2014). There has been an introduction of learning outcome assessment to establish the effectiveness of higher learning institutions effectiveness in providing the quality of graduates required for the society. Some assessment has indicated that the level has dropped. For instance, the college’s education is expected to model leaders of the society and should be able to lead once they have attained their degree or have graduated. There has been a leadership crisis since an average age that a college or university student become a president in the USA has risen from 52 years to 61 years. This shows they do not come out with the expected impact on the society, and hence the college system shows the gaps making the education system weak. Currently to fill the gap, the public college has introduced training on leadership skills, the student has been encouraged to be innovative when it comes to technology (Ebersole, 2014). The assessment method has met challenges since the assessors are having difficulties in determining effective tools that will provide practical tools that will expose the gaps to allow a quality intervention for the problems that has affected the American education system.
The American education system has been met with challenges over the use of outdated policies defining academics based on the old definition of a student (18-24). Currently, most college students are working and studying at the same time. This mean they join or continue studying in college at an older age than expected by the education system. The education system has not addressed this new majority of a student with a few meeting the expected age group of 18 to 24 years as the ideal for a college student. From statistics, the minority (18-24) years represent 20 percent of the number of college students. Such minority are full-time scholars (Ebersole, 2014). While the rest are the student in the post-traditional category, older in age and work while studying as party time students. Despite all these changes in the college student demographics, the policy makers for the college student’s communities take into consideration of the minority age. This means the policy applied does not meet the need and expectation of the college students in the modern error. This is a challenge and may be a contribution to the poor performance for some of the college students since their time for work and class, and sometimes exams may crash and leading to poor grades.
The unstable economy has impacted negatively on the education sector in America. For instance, in the 2008 recession that started December 2007, the Labor Department reported a loss of more than 8 million jobs between 2008 and 2010. This led to an economic crisis represented in the decline of the total GDP by around 5 percent (Camera, 2015). This has resulted in a burden for the government to be able to support the education system in the quest to stabilize the economy. Currently, the economy is stabilizing, and more people are getting jobs. Economic activities have become more has improved, and the chances of employing college students are declining, and this poses a challenge to the education system. The university students are more preferred since it is believed they have more competent skills than those in college and hence shrinking chances for employing college students. Currently, many people are investing for a university degree making the job market a competitive platform for the educated. Low and middle-income families students are the most affected since even the college degree they struggle to attain began to lose value with the new standards set by the job market.
The above challenges can be handled by involving various stakeholders’ to carry off the burdens rather than let it all to the government. The Obama data transparency system that was launched can be enhanced by eliminating the regulatory challenges. For instance, in occupational colleges a student does not have to search on the campus site so much information. They are assigned and advisor who gives them a clear but detailed information concern the options and amount to be paid for particular courses. Once the student and their guardians make a choice, the same advisor will help them in the enrollment process that is convenient as indicated in (Rosenbaum, 2004). They also give information on the available scholarships, subsidies or loans in time to avoid any overpayments. The high school students should be encouraged to study and learn the skills required in their field of specialization rather than just papers that make them incompetent for the job markets.
In conclusion, the American education system has always been met with challenges. Ranging from outdated policies to economic hurdles that America has to deal with. The college education started to become a challenge when the support by the American tax system reduced or declined in subsidizing the education. The challenges can be averted with a keen look into policies replacing the old ones with the new once, covering the demographic definition of current American college student. The shrinking job markets for the college students is a discouragement for those students who can only afford the college education and opt not to join college, should be revised to cover them.
Camera, L. (2015, June 9). Congress Turns Attention to Higher Education Act Renewal. Retrieved November 22, 2015, from http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2015/06/10/congress-turns-attention-to-higher-education-act.html
Ebersole, J. (2014, January 13). Top Issues Facing Higher Education In 2014. Retrieved November 22, 2015, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/johnebersole/2014/01/13/top-issues-facing-higher-education-in-2014/
Rosenbaum, J. E. (2004). Universal higher education: Challenges and alternative strategies for servingthe new college student. In Ford Policy Forum 2004.
Strauss, V. (2013, October 17). Public education’s biggest problem keeps getting worse. Retrieved November 22, 2015, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2013/10/17/public-educations-biggest-problem-keeps-getting-worse/
“U.S. Department of Education”. (2013). Fast Facts. Retrieved November 22, 2015, from http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=98