In the article, the author describes the aftermath of the pandemic and its’ impact on the educational system of community colleges. The author explains the issue through statistical data and gives several perspectives on the issue through stories of former community college students and why they have decided to drop the classes. The text implies that conditions of pandemic and its’ economic consequences are different from any other type of economic downturns, as those usually become the boom times for community college enrollments (Saul, 2021). However, the pandemic affected the educational system in a way that reduced the number of job opportunities and the population’s level of income.
The article did not touch on how the pandemic affected elite institutions like UCSD but provided valuable information by explaining that people choose to believe that the jobs would return after the pandemic. The information could be used to assume that part of the population that is not affected by burdens of living expenses could be motivated by stimulation checks to enroll in higher-level college. Implementing this consequence to enrollment rates in elite institutions, I assume that the enrollment rate stayed at the same level or decreased fractionally.
First, if before the pandemic community colleges were sufficiently cheap for students of both types and later became equally expensive, high-type students would benefit more from the pandemic. High-type students could come re-enroll later; as the author notes, the pandemic could become just a ‘pause button’ for the students (Saul, 2021). However, low-type students tend to give up to conditions of pandemic and drop community college. The article stated that around 40% of the students at community colleges drop the education process (Saul, 2021). The explanations list reasons like inability to cover living expenses and lack of practical skills in remote studying. Some students also express that there is no need for them to study as their desired job does not require a college degree.
Next, if during the pandemic an affirmative policy targeting high-type Underrepresented Minority students was implemented, high type students would benefit from the pandemic as it could create a shortage of qualified working resources in the nearest future. As the article points, community colleges are a critical training ground for students in all fields at local businesses. This action could possibly result in lower enrollments from the underrepresented minorities (Reardon et al., 2017). However, the affirmative policy could create more job opportunities for future URM graduates and higher income levels.
If community colleges focused on teaching valuable skills and improving the students’ productivity, in the case where the tuition became more expensive for high and low-type students, both would need to re-enroll later. The pandemic would benefit the high-type students more as they would be more motivated and determined to re-enroll. On the other hand, the low-type students could take more time to feel motivated to finish the education. In the second case, the high type would benefit more as the future situation of working resource shortage would increase the value of community college graduates.
In my opinion, the second step’s description of the utility of community colleges is more accurate and real. Community colleges produce a high-quality workforce in various economic fields, and young adults, especially Underrepresented Minorities, frequently dismiss this fact. I would recommend affirmative actions as if only determined and motivated students were allowed to study in the community colleges, the community colleges would have been more popular among all layers of the population. The gap between community colleges and elite institutions would have become smaller.
Reardon, S. F., Baker, R., Kasman, M., Klasik, D., & Townsend, J. B. (2017) Can Socioeconomic Status Substitute for Race in Affirmative Action College Admissions Policies? Evidence from a Simulation Model. Center for Education Policy Analysis. Web.
Saul, S. (2021). The Pandemic Hit the Working Class Hard. The Colleges that Serve Them Are Hurting, Too. The New York Times. Web.