The tough road to getting an education

Education is the platform to opportunity and success in our country. This logic has been drilled in our minds for years, and we should all know its importance by now. Does it really make sense to close the door on students who can’t afford to go to a University?

One could say that the recurring theme for the motto of our country would be “Those who choose to, can.” However, it seems these days that it might as well be “You get what you can pay for.”

Santa Monica College is a promising school for the freshly graduated high school students, international students, and returning students.

With a beautiful campus, great transfer rates, the scholars program, and a prime location, SMC has a lot to offer for incoming students. But just how many can SMC afford to take on in the coming years?

According to the Board of Trustees September 6 agenda, “community colleges have taken extensive cuts to funding over recent years, while trying to educate the largest high school graduating classes in California history and need funding to provide the programs and services necessary to increase the number of successful degree and certificate holders.”

With the rising number of high school students opting to go to a community college right after graduation, SMC is facing a lot of financial pressure.

State resources for public education have shrunk, forcing the college to cut out more than 1,000 classes from the fall semester alone. In the unfortunate circumstance that Proposition 30 is not passed, it is possible that community colleges around California are going to have to start prioritizing enrollment, which is something that goes completely against the ideal of community colleges—equal opportunity for all who seek it.

“The state has lowered our resources,” states California Community Colleges Chancellor Dr. Jack Scott in an interview with Central Coast News. “We are no longer able to serve everybody we would like to serve. We’ve had to decrease our enrollment by over ten percent. And so naturally under those circumstances we have to prioritize enrollment. Who are the most deserving students? Who are the ones who deserve to be what we might call first in line?”

This further proves that getting into community colleges will be more challenging in the future.

Moorpark Community College freshman Ashley Schimmel, who wanted to attend SMC, said regarding her first college semester, “I planned on taking my general education classes. Everyone knows it’s basically the same education, just for less money.”

Schimmel wanted to attend SMC so that she could live in Westwood and have a college experience.

“Because my parents pay for my school, I wasn’t really worried about money. I didn’t get the opportunity to have to worry about it, either. I got really lucky, getting into Moorpark College even. I only did because I was able to convince a teacher to let me join her joint class, which paired with another class, gave me enough units to have a useful semester.”

Kelly Kaufman, SMC sophomore, explained that getting classes at SMC this year was only easy for her because of her scholar’s priority. “I didn’t have to crash a class at SMC my freshman year, but I can suspect that’s because I paid for my classes in full.”

Education for pre-graduates is easily one of the most important issues our state has to contend with, next to health care and job creation.

Why should the education of our future generation be sacrificed? If young people can’t be educated at an affordable price in their own state, then who are we trying to create jobs for?

In the current situation that our state is in, we really can’t afford to let things as critical as education get put on a wait-list of its own.

OpinionLifestyle EditorComment