Academic success for college students correlates closely and directly to student resources. As student resources decline, academic performance declines (Payne 87). This is an important concept to grasp if higher education is to be a leveler or equalizer in society, because students from upper SES backgrounds routinely come to college with more resources than students from lower SES backgrounds. Be definition they have greater financial support, more stability via higher levels of home ownership and lower levels of divorce, greater support for college attendance because of education levels, and more. And not only do they come to college with more resources, but they also tend to attend colleges and universities with greater resources for success–better facilities, more private aid, deeper alumni connections, higher quality library collections, more expansive computing resources, and more. This often mean that colleges who serve lower SES students are serving students that have resource inequities at two levels. Their personal resources are lesser and their college provided resources are often lesser than the resources available to their higher level SES counterparts.
This has always felt like the same old “separate but equal” problem Brown v. Board of Education was supposed to address.
Q: Do you know of anyone working to rectify this? How do you recommend we approach this issues? What strengths do lower SES students bring that we can leverage for success?