The future of higher education has been a topic of heavy conversation and concern, especially when it comes to the ever rising costs to obtain a degree. To combat the issue and provide signs of hope and progress, visitors from the U.S. Department of Education visited campus on Monday equipped with information and ready to answers the questions of the student body.
“College should be for everyone who wants the opportunity.”
Those words began the presentation from Martha Kanter, under secretary from the department of education entitled “An America Built to Last”. Topics ranged from President Barack Obama’s early vision on higher education to the current plan that is laid out in “Education Blueprint: An Economy Built to Last.” The state of education today was also brought up as well as the severe importance of higher education and how it’s value trumps that of a high school diploma or GED.
The White House’s goal, ultimately, is to increase college enrollment by 50 percent, a plan which would require landmark investments, training and support of high quality educators, the promotion of research, and shared responsibility between the states.
John Wilson, executive director for the white house Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, took to the podium next. He stressed the need to make seeking college education more affordable. His points also included America’s need for a more competitive edge as the country hasn’t been the world leader in education since 1995. To reach the White House’s intended goal in the year 2020, America would have to produce 8 million more college graduates. Two million of that total would have to be African Americans with 167,000 coming from HBCUs. That math totals to 57,000 graduates per year from the nations black institutions and would require N.C. A&T to produce an additional 131 graduates per year.
Wilson also made an effort to shed light on the high demand for science, technology, engineering, and math [STEM] majors. After Wilson’s presentation, the floor was opened for audience questions. Darrian Bost was one of a handful of students who took advantage of the opportunity.
“I wanted to ask about what could be done to assist students who are in need but are deemed ineligible for federal assistance based off parental income,” said the junior chemistry major from Indianapolis. “I feel like middle class students are in just as much of need for financial support as students from low income/poor families.”
Vice President of Internal Affairs-elect Canisha Turner saw the importance of need for such an event here on the campus.
“I thought it was very informative for our students. I believe that as long as institutions continue to provide a quality education, then this nation will be able to ascend to number 1 in the world by the year 2020.”