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Let’s Hear it for National Higher Education Day

National Higher Education Day was on June 6th and this day recognizes the importance of higher education in many people's lives as well as the importance of accessibility to this education. This day was founded by Izamar Olaguez and Marcie Hronis in 2015. The reason behind them deeming this a holiday was their motivation to see students pursue higher education and also see them stand a fair chance in this pursuit.

This day is not only important in creating awareness about higher education as well as resources around pursuing this route, but it also sheds light on the important inequalities in higher education. For some students, pursuing higher education is the norm. They're expected to go to high school, graduate, and then pursue a college education. Heading towards that green campus in the fall is what is expected of them, but for other students that's not always the case. Some students have to grapple with not being able to enroll in a university due to financial circumstances, home life circumstances, and other factors out of their control. The purpose of National Higher Education Day is to inform those who would like to pursue higher education about resources that can aid them in this pursuit. It allows for them to learn about scholarships, counseling, and other avenues that they may not have known of when trying to enroll in a college or university.

Here are some quick facts that you may not have known about higher education inequality according to

  • While 39 percent of the degrees and certificates white students receive come from public four-year schools, only around 30 percent of credentials awarded to black and Hispanic students are from public four-year colleges

  • The median institution for white students ranks about 600 places higher than the median institution for black students. The median institution attended by white students outranks that of Hispanic students by around 200 places.

  • While more than half of all degrees that white students earn are bachelor’s degrees, just under 40 percent of the degrees that black and Hispanic students earn are bachelor’s degrees. these disparities mean that hundreds of thousands of black and Hispanic students are earning credentials that are likely to offer less labor market value than the bachelor’s degrees received by their white peers.

  • For black women, only 8 of every 1,000 bachelor’s degrees are in engineering, compared with 89 of every 1,000 white male bachelor’s degrees. This means that over this period, white men received engineering degrees at more than 11 times the rate that black women did. For Hispanic women, the number is similarly dismaying, with only 14 of every 1,000 Hispanic female bachelor’s degrees in engineering.

These statistics are not only troubling but it's startling. The disparity in higher education is one that we do not expect to see in this day and age. But the fact of the matter is that accessible education is not that accessible. There are many gaps when it comes to funding, resources, and information for groups of people who would like to pursue this route. That's why National Higher Education Day is so important. It sheds light on these matters and it allows for those who do not have accessible access to be informed and heard.

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