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Dylan Baird

Comp II TR 9:00
Diana Watkins
21 April 2015
Essay Outline
1. Intro (Title: Generation: Poverty?)
A. Statistic about the actual poverty line for a single person
B. Actual average cost of tuition for one year
C. Causes problems for people trying to ditch poverty
2. Body (History and Present)
A. Stats about cost of college in the 60s
B. Mesta Interview
a) Causes stress and burdens the student by having so many things happening
at once
C. Poverty is more than a financial problem
b) The financial side only adds to a current state of mental poverty
c) Poverty takes many forms
D. The Emotional and stress related side of college
a) As students we are expected to balance many plates, figuratively speaking.
b) Professors, homework, mental health, good grades, and money are all
difficult to juggle. Picture a skinny guy trying to juggle fifteen pound
bowling balls.
3. The solution and how people can help
E. Article about 2 free years of community college and how it would help
a) Could help underprivileged students get a foot in the door and build a
ladder out of poverty.
F. Why community colleges should not be discounted as a lesser education
b) Personal experience and how I received a better quality education from a
community college.
G. How community colleges can help people in poverty get out
c) Provides a cheaper, more interactive and overall better quality education
H. Possible volunteer-for-credit opportunities
d) Working in the community in exchange for free tuition? Fees?
I. Balance and minimizing stress
e) To me, stress is a huge factor in being considered in poverty. If you are
not happy, a lifestyle change must occur.

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Dylan Baird
Comp II TR 9:00
Diana Watkins
21 April 2015
Generation: Poverty?
The yearly income at which a family of two is considered to be in poverty is $15,730. For
a single person that number drops to $11,670 per year (Families USA). On average, the cost of
tuition is $9,139 for state residents attending public colleges (College Data). Suddenly, getting
oneself out of the hole of poverty does not sound so easy, does it? College is almost impossible
to leave debt free without some outside help, and if a person were not fortunate enough to have
parents who stayed together and saved for their education, they could be in some serious trouble.
This has caused college poverty to become a problematic, yet prominent issue in todays society.
From first grade through high school it has been drilled into young heads that college is a
necessity. What they do not tell them, though, is that they, and their parents, will be shelling out
almost ten grand a year on average for that necessary-to-succeed education. To put that in
perspective, ten-thousand dollars could provide a select number of college kids a meal outside of
the realm of Ramen noodles. All jokes aside, college is and always has been highly expensive.
Even in 1960 the cost of college was anywhere from five-hundred to two-thousand dollars,
which was a lot of money at the time (Berry).
So, why is going to college such a necessity? Why not start flipping burgers like a pro
straight out of high school? There will be cash in your pocket and your mom will surely not mind
you living at home for another 10 years! Well, because college offers more prestige and security
than flipping burgers for a career. One can land a better job, obtain more experience, and earn a

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substantially higher wage than with a simple high school diploma simply by going to college.
That sounds easy enough for some people, but for others, like me, it can be a bit daunting. Being
a college student requires paying for tuition and books, balancing homework and study times,
maintaining high grades, paying for room and board, working part time, and taking care of
oneself all while maintaining mental health and low stress. While performing this plate balancing
act it becomes easy to lose track of why one is even there in the first place.
What does all this have to do with poverty? Well, I think that college poverty goes much
deeper than simply not having enough money. True college poverty is having the crushing stress
of education placed upon ones shoulders. To put it harshly, college is having chains strapped to
every limb. Professors, tuition, grades, and ones own health and well being are all being pulled
in separate directions with the same force. This force is known as stress. With so much stress
being placed on college students it comes as no surprise that many are unhappy and feel
burdened (Mesta).
The poverty rate is 51.8 percent, but when eliminating college students who live off
campus and not with a relative that number drops to 14.5 percent (Fang).This brings me to my
next point. Which is better, years of student debt or making a substance wage for the rest of your
life? These are not the only two options for a future, but they ring true for underprivileged kids
from families deep in the shackles of poverty. These families cannot afford tuition for their child
and thus that child will probably be in debt up to their ears by the time they graduate should they
choose to attend college.
Another item to take into consideration is college readiness. In my experience, I was
scared to go to college because I had no idea what it would be like to be on my own. The high
school I attended did not make much use of online programs such as The Blackboard or TurnItIn,

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so I had no idea how they worked. I was never taught how to enroll in college, and because of
that, I felt helpless the day I went to enroll. How am I supposed to decide on the career that I
want for the rest of my life when I am only 18? Of course, a lot has changed since the start of the
school year, but I am sure many other seniors have the same burning questions and anxieties.
Why do we not teach our children to be ready for college? In a way, I feel like we set our kids up
for failure by not preparing them. After that, our psychiatric patient rating is likely to go up along
with our poverty percentage because some kids just are not ready.
Some, including me, have been fortunate enough to have high school programs that
prepare them for college. The program for my class in high school was called GearUp. GearUp
helped maximize our college readiness by taking us on free college tours, making sure we had
information on hand about college, providing us with knowledge about grants and scholarships,
and giving surveys to gauge our college readiness. In return for doing these surveys, they
provided the school with grants for new technology. GearUp is a fantastic program, but it is still
flawed. Just over 69percent of studentsand only about 50 percent of African Americans,
Hispanic and low-income studentsgraduate from high school on time, many without the skills
needed for college or work (Spotlight on Poverty). Even with the campus tours and numerous
surveys I still did not feel prepared for college, and I would be lying if I said I was not struggling
This is a huge factor in whether teenagers are able to complete college. The stress of
classes and homework alone is nearly enough to make a head spin, but when one tries to juggle a
job, numerous fees, books, and the occasional parking ticket along with those items it can be
extremely daunting. This is why college readiness should be a top priority if our goal is to have
as many students as possible graduate from college. The information about enrollment

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procedures is invaluable, because one could end up with an advisor who does not care about their
These problems could all be easily fixed by making it mandatory that high school
students are familiar with college procedures. This can be done with a simple course that could
test students for college readiness. Also, scholarships and grants play a large part in the lives of
underprivileged students. Teaching students about these opportunities could help save a
struggling student from thousands of dollars in student debt and years of living in poverty trying
to pay off their education.
Barack Obama proposed a plan to make 2 years of community college free nationwide
(Goldrick-Rab). Last summer, the Obama administration pledged to invest $12 billion toward
the American Graduation Initiative, a plan to help five million additional students graduate from
community colleges by 2020 (Fischer). This act could have both positive and negative impacts
on our society. On a positive note, struggling students, single parents, and other people looking
to dig their selves out of a hole would have an opportunity to succeed without the burden of
tuition. This would greatly increase the college graduation rate, and alleviate tons of stress from
the shoulders of students. How can one maintain high grades while working two jobs to pay for
that education?
On the negative side, this would raise the tax rate and cost taxpayers a ton of cash. This
could be harmful because some would not take their education seriously and thus that money
would be wasted. To solve this, there could be a qualification exam that could measure a certain
level of mental being in order to be given the grant. This would minimize taxes levied on
taxpayers and would in turn help those in dire need of an education. Another problem that could
occur with this project is that it does not take into consideration that students could be struggling

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to pay for more than school. It should also incorporate free or income based housing and a
certain amount of meal plan so the student can enjoy food on campus.
However, this plan could tie in well with the point made in the article Community
Colleges as a Pathway out of Poverty. In this article the author tells about a program called
ASAP and how community colleges are often overlooked in terms of education. ASAP offers
participants a set of services and incentives that researchers have highlighted as beneficial to
improving retention and graduation, including tuition waivers for financial aid-eligible students
and free transportation and textbooks for all participants (Fischer). Needless to say, this is an
amazing program for teens living in poverty. Fischer sort of paints community colleges as a
lesser to the large universities, but in my own experience I have received a phenomenal
education from the community colleges I have attended. The class sizes are smaller than large
universities and thus the instructors care about the individuals and their education. At large
universities this is certainly not the case.
Students from high-poverty schools are less likely to immediately enroll in college and
to remain enrolled after one year than students from more well-off high schools (Bidwell). It
is easy to see why. With class sizes well into the hundreds, and being much more expensive than
their community counterpart, large universities can put more pressure on students by not giving
them one on one experience with the instructor. However, this could play as a positive to
encourage student interaction and cooperation. This could be a desirable skill in the real world.
Another possible solution could be to provide free tuition at the cost of free labor.
Colleges have already employed this technique, but there lies a small problem with it. Some
people are natural born hard workers while others are fine with being couch potatoes. This can
lead to workload imbalances and create stress, and that is the opposite of what we are trying to

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accomplish. To solve this, I would suggest several different job choices for volunteer work.
Some jobs would be for the hard working and the easier jobs would be for the less hard working
All in all, college poverty goes beyond having money for food, tuition, and books.
College poverty also deals with the stress individuals face as students. Balancing homework, a
job, and ones own health and well being is much harder than it sounds. All of these problems
could be solved by making community colleges free for dedicated students, providing free or
reduced housing, and granting individuals a certain amount of meal plan.

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Berry, Dave. College Costs 50 Years Ago. 2001. College Confidential. Web. 11 April
This is an article about the varying costs of college in the 60s and up. I used
this to give comparison about the cost of college then versus the cost of college
now, and how it has always been extremely expensive.
Bidwell, Allie. "Wealthier Schools Send More Students to College." 2015. U.S. News.
Web. 11 April 2015. <>
This is a great article from U.S. News. In the article it talks about the income
of the high school one attends could have an impact on college enrollment.
"Students from high-poverty schools are less likely to immediately enroll in college and to remain enrolled after one year - than students from more well-off schools." I
chose this article because it is packed full of information about how a poor high
school can make for a poor future.
Fang, Marina. "Poverty Among College Students Increases The Overall Rate." 2005.
Think Progress. Web. 11 April 2015. <>
This is a short article without much information. I chose it because it has
really interesting statistics about how if college students were not factored in, the
national poverty rate would drop significantly. Although, I feel the data is a bit
skewed because they leave out college students who live in dorms. Students who
live in dorms can be in just as much poverty as an off-campus student.
"Federal Poverty Guidelines." 2015. Families USA. Web. 11 April 2015.
This is a simple poverty guideline that shows how much a family might be
making to be considered "in poverty."
Fischer, David Jason. "Community Colleges as a Pathway Out of Poverty." n.d.
Center for an Urban Future. Web. 11 April 2015. <>
This article by Fischer is about how community colleges can be a light at the
end of a tunnel to some that are struggling with poverty. I disagree with this article
in some aspects because he diminishes the community college lifestyle. I feel that
in a way he thinks one is getting less of an education at a community college, and I
stand as a testament that that is certainly not the case. I chose to use this article
because while I disagree with the tone toward community colleges, the article still
has some valuable information and statistics.

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Goldrick-Rab, Sara. 2009. Web. 11 April 2015. < >
This article examines Barack Obama's idea to make two years of community
college free nationwide, and how it will "help, not hurt, low-income students." This
article is interesting because it refutes the perception that community college is
"nearly free, especially for students from low-income families," while in fact,
community colleges end up costing about $8,000-$11,000 on average per year after
grants. I chose this because having two free years of college sounds like a pretty
good deal to me and provides a good argument for my solution part of the
Mesta, Daniel. Interview. Dylan Baird. 11 April 2015. Personal Interview.
Daniel is my roommate and lived in the dorms for 2 years before moving.
During the interview I kept my questions based around his stress levels about
college while living in the dorms, and some about the financial side of college. Some
of his answers were of use because they reaffirmed my idea that poverty is more
than just not having money to live comfortably. I proved this because Daniel has
had college completely paid for by his parents.
"Spotlight on Poverty." 2015. Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity. Web. 11 April
2015. <>
This is an extremely short article from Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity.
Albeit short, this article contains an interesting statistic that I chose to support my
paper. Other than that, there is not much here.
"What's the Price Tag for a College Education?" 2015. College Data. Web. 11 April
This is a short article about the cost of college tuition. I used it solely as a
reference for the average cost of college.