New York Times Op-Ed by LaGuardia President Gail Mellow: The Biggest Misconception About Today’s College Students

Paris Welcomes LaGuardia StudentsKelsey Wroten – New York Times

“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.

Of the country’s nearly 18 million undergraduates, more than 40 percent go to community college, and of those, only 62 percent can afford to go to college full-time. By contrast, a mere 0.4 percent of students in the United States attend one of the Ivies.

The typical student is not the one burnishing a fancy résumé with numerous unpaid internships. It’s just the opposite: Over half of all undergraduates live at home to make their degrees more affordable, and a shocking 40 percent of students work at least 30 hours a week. About 25 percent work full-time and go to school full-time.…

… At LaGuardia Community College in New York, where I am president, 77 percent of students live in households making less than $25,000 per year.…

… Community colleges need increased funding, and students need access to more flexible federal and state financial aid, enhanced paid internships and college work-study programs. Improved access to public supports, like food stamps and reduced public transportation fares, would also make a world of difference.…”

To read more, click here to download a PDF of the complete essay. Or click here to read it on The New York Times website.

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