The rising cost of college and its acute impact on communities of color have received significant media attention in the past few months and deservedly so. As the Boston Globe reported in its article, “Students at state’s public colleges gird for higher tuition,” the cost to attend a state university or a community college in Massachusetts will go up by 8 to 10 percent this year.
Historically, state universities and community colleges have served a large number of minority students hoping to earn a degree without breaking the bank. According to the Center for Community College Student Engagement, over one-third of community college students in the U.S. are of color – Hispanics representing 18 percent, Blacks at 15 percent, Asian/Pacific Islander at 6 percent; and 40 percent who are first-generation college students. Therefore, this price hike will certainly impact families of color who already face a high cost of living, lower incomes and higher unemployment rates.
This news article follows several in the past three months from the Boston Globe that question the actual value of a college education. From the perspective of lifetime earnings alone, a college degree remains an excellent investment. Nonetheless, today more than ever, students should demand higher value from higher education.