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Wednesday, December 7, 2016
The Rising Costs of College Admission
Let me start by saying one thing: this post won't be about the rising costs of actual college attendance. That's not because college tuition costs aren't going up (they are). Instead, I'm talking about the long-game. The cost of preparing kids for college.
It starts at preschool.
I'm not being alarmist. I also don't believe kids are actually tracked at age three. What is arguable is that socioeconomic class starts to inform educational trajectory from very early on. With some exceptions, the kids whose parents can afford to send them to preschool will begin kindergarten with many social and some academic advantages.
With some exceptions, kids who attend private elementary, middle and high schools will also have a leg up on their public school counterparts. This is in no way a swipe at public education. It's just that it can't compete with the funding of private institutions, which will offer wealthier children opportunities that poor children will simply never see.
By high school, most kids already have a sense of whether or not college is on the horizon. Private schools-with smaller student to teacher ratios and bigger coffers for paying staff-will undoubtedly be able to support students through the college application process in a more meaningful way. Some public school guidance school counselors are assigned to hundreds of kids at a time.
With a new presidential administration promising to divert federal and state funds away from public schools, the cost of schooling may become even further out of the reach of many American families. This trend is likely to be complicated by slashing the funding of vital early education programs designed to help lower income families. The face of college admissions may be changing, and with it, the demographics of the country's college graduates.
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