NYT: The Biggest Misconception About Today’s College Students

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The New York Times had an opinion piece by Gail O. Mellow, President of LaGuardia Community College, on Monday that dealt with the reality of higher education and misconceptions about typical college students.

The overall focus of the piece is the need for more funding in higher education, especially for community colleges.  Mellow begins, “You might think the typical college student lives in a state of bliss, spending each day moving among classes, parties and extracurricular activities. But the reality is that an increasingly small population of undergraduates enjoys that kind of life.”

Some of the stats provided for current undergrads are different than most would assume.  Those stats for the 18 million undergrads in higher ed now include:

  • more than 40 percent go to community colleges
  • only 62 percent can afford to go to school fulltime
  • merely .04 percent go to an Ivy League school
  • over half of all undergrads live at home
  • 40 percent work at least 30 hours per week
  • 25 percent work full-time and go to school full-time
  • one quarter are over 25 years of age
  • one quarter are single parents

Rick W. Burkett runs the John A. Logan College Teaching and Learning Center, teaches history, and heads an educational nonprofit. He publishes blogs on a wide variety of topics, including history, teaching and learning, student success, and teaching online.

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