Opinion » Letters

Invest in higher education now or pay later

Cuesta College counselor, San Luis Obispo



Currently 36 percent of adults living in California have earned an associate’s degree or higher. However by 2020, 67 percent of the jobs in our state will require a college degree. In order to close this 31 percent skills gap, more Californians must attend college and not only graduate but graduate in a timely manner. Enrollment and graduation rates will continue to be compromised by the current disinvestment in higher education. The costs to attend the University of California and California State Universities have skyrocketed in recent years, making it nearly impossible for middle class families to afford to send their children there directly after high school graduation.

The Community College System has remained reasonably affordable ($46 per credit). Furthermore, there are several funding opportunities for students including low-interest loans, fee waivers, and scholarships. Cuesta College distributes more than $220,000 in scholarships to their students every year. California Community College students also have a higher persistence rate than first-time freshmen at the CSUs. Cuesta College students have consistently held one of the highest six-year graduation rates at CSUs. In 2002, for example, more than 78 percent of the students who began their education at Cuesta College and transferred to a CSU graduated in six years. We have a choice; we can either invest in the future of California by funding higher education or pay the consequences later.

-- Andrea Devitt - Cuesta College Counselor

-- Andrea Devitt - SLO

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