Wednesday, July 26, 2006

I love stories like this, LXVI

Grad school is expensive and it's hard to get loans and scholarships to cover costs beyond tuition. No surprises there. But in this Washington Post op-ed piece, Sui Lang Panoke complains that "access to graduate education" is pretty much reserved for the upper class in America:
The majority of students in my situation seeking graduate degrees don't have the means to just pick up and move to another city without some kind of government assistance. Yet federal Pell Grants and Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants are available only to undergraduate students. There are very few alternative options for funding my graduate degree. What's even more frustrating is that if I were seeking an undergraduate degree, being a single mother would qualify me to have most of my college expenses paid for.

She also makes some other valid points about the job market:
Today's job market is becoming more and more competitive. Bachelor's degrees don't carry the weight they used to. It's almost necessary to have a graduate, doctorate or law degree to compete with the current highly qualified pool of candidates.

But then it turns into a real whine:
Higher degrees mean higher salaries. But the disparity between those who have access to a higher degree due to their economic resources and those who have the desire to attend graduate school but not the money is increasing. Graduate students are forced to take on a significantly higher economic burden than undergraduates. It seems that graduate-level education is open only to the select few who can afford it -- people who usually come from wealthy, upper-class families.

We are failing to redistribute the wealth in America, and the divide between the upper and lower classes is widening. It's clear that a federal need-based grant program for graduate students must be created. This would help level the playing field by creating access to graduate programs for students -- access based on merit and ambition rather than economic resources.

Oh, brother! It's the failure of the free market again, I suppose, isn't it? At this point I decided to move on and read something else and let this person stew in her own juices...but then I noticed what kind of graduate degree she wants to get:
The writer is a first-year graduate student at American University working toward a master's degree in public administration.

She wants the federal government to give her money to finish grad school so that she can get a job feeding from the public trough!

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