Improving the ways of Higher Education and Social Mobility

by acerv1 on April 14, 2014 - 9:16pm

The vast majority of high school students graduating and attending college to earn a bachelor’s degree has increased considerably in the last 10 years. Though this might sound like a good thing, major companies have also been expanded their qualifications, making it harder for undergraduates to obtain a job because they don’t have a much higher level of education. This is where the struggle of social mobility comes into play. In the journal, “The Role of Higher Education in Social Mobility”, it begins to discuss how the role of education in America is substantially becoming more difficult to achieve, especially when jobs are looking for graduates with a post-secondary degree. This is due to the fact of the difference in income of families that want their children to attend college. Families that have a high income have a better chance to support their children to attend college, and have them earn more than just one degree in order to achieve social mobility. However, families with low income are less in the know of how to support their children and what colleges they should searching for to gain financial aid for their children (Havemen & Smeeding, 2006, pg125). This article showcases the unjust way of the educational system as well as the government not being able to support families and students who want to succeed in social mobility. Without proper information on obtaining financial aid in order to pursue a higher education, it becomes unfair for those who want to achieve in a career they no longer can have because they can’t afford an education.

This article is very informative and directly addresses the issues on families that struggle to financial help their children wanting to attend college in order to succeed in social mobility in the future. The article focuses on main points such as the inequality amongst higher education, including family income, as well as the importance of social mobility. The article also points out the unfairness of what low-income families experience as well the difficult of truly succeeding in social mobility, when it is the only way to succeed in the country. Havemen and Smeeding described a report done in 1988 that was conducted by the Board of Education on surveying a group of 8th graders if they decide on remaining in college until graduation. The study conducted that 51 percent of the students of high income reported in having a bachelor’s degree with only 7 percent from low-income families, while 59 percent of low income students who began two-year postsecondary school earned a degree or were still in school, opposed to the 75 percent of higher income students who earned a four-year degree (Havemen & Smeeding, 2006, pg. 127).

This shows that students with low income families are less likely to compare and estimate the actual cost of universities and understand the college process because of their parents not attending college, while those of higher income are more like to attend and graduate from a four-year postsecondary school because they not only could afford it, but also have the knowledge on how to apply. To this day, lower income students still struggle to accomplish in social mobility because of the higher educational system being more difficult for those who cannot simply afford it. It isn’t fair for the families in not understanding or learning how to better their children’s chance in graduating. Or should the education system still stand and believe that their system is just a natural “competition” for their recipients? 



Havemen, Robert & Smeeding, Timothy. (2006). “The Role of Higher Education in    Social Mobility”. The Future of Children. 16, 125-150. 


I agree that the price of college is exaggerated especially for teens for lower income families. This does make it harder for the kids to go to college because, as you said, they don’t know much about it. However, I read in the book how to Change the World by David Bornstein, about a program that J.B. Schramm came up with: the “Flyer’s Tutoring Program”. He creates workshops in colleges all around the US to help out kids whom don’t have great grades but who have people, perhaps teachers, that believe that they have the potential to go to college to write an eye catching essay. There was such a great success rate for this program that it keeps on growing. Surely programs that help kids get into college can help them get scholarships!

About the author