The funding is needed to improve the accommodation for students with disabilities at the selected community college as well as increase accessibility of higher education for students with disabilities by providing them with the necessary knowledge, skills, and culturally sensitive competence. In addition, efforts to alter DACA mandates will be put forward by raising awareness of discriminatory practices against Latino students, especially from immigrant families.
The current state of public colleges and related legislative environment does not provide sufficient resources to accommodate the selected vulnerable groups. In the context of the instability of the external environment, the community colleges face tasks related to the development and strengthening of their positions in the market, the maintenance of their infrastructure, and the search for funds that go to support the educational process.
Community colleges are faced with the need to look for additional financial resources, and one of the sources of their income is funds from income-generating activities. They allow the college to improve its work efficiency, become more competitive in the market and achieve a better quality of services provided to it. The main factors hindering the development of income-generating activities of the community college include an insufficient level of material and technical base, imperfection of the regulatory framework, administrative barriers, and high competition. Reducing the influence of all these factors, the search for new sources of funding will lead to the full use of the potential of the community college and its economic stability.
The target population is chosen due to the high degree of vulnerability of both students with disabilities and Latino students when it comes to the gateway into higher education, which is community colleges. For example, It is stated that “Latino students underperform and are at higher risk of dropping out of high school than their non-Latino peers” (Marrero, 2016, p. 180). One of the main barriers is rooted in Latino family culture, which negatively impacts educational performance since young Latino individuals are burdened with family support responsibilities (Marrero, 2016). In addition, “negative expectations were set up for them by school personnel that inhibited their engagement in the academic process” (Marrero, 2016, p. 182). Illegal immigrant family’s children cannot apply for DACA since it will lead to the deportation of the applicant’s family (Thelin, 2019). Therefore, Latino students are vulnerable due to low expectations, cultural values, and the legislative environment.
In the case of students with disabilities, they are faced primarily with accommodative challenges. Many financial support programs are ineffective due to the intricate needs of the group in regards to college supplies, such as special textbooks for the visually impaired. Computers are also poorly accommodative for visually impaired persons since only a small fraction of devices have programs, such as JAWS or CCTV (Thelin, 2019). Although traditional colleges and universities exhibit a high level of accommodation for students with disabilities, such a welcoming environment is not present among community colleges. Therefore, if a student with a disability has no financial means to apply and study at a traditional university, he or she has the only option of attending community colleges, which is not accommodative.
The given proposal supports the West Los Angeles College’s Master Plan’s strategic direction on engaging and transforming through the diversity of thoughts and collaborative measures. In other words, it is important to ensure equity for Latino students and students with disabilities in order to properly engage and transform them to promote diversity at community colleges. The first goal supported by the proposal is to “ensure that library and services are easy to find, access, and use” (Trustees of the California State University, 2021, para. 4).
In other words, accessibility is a major challenge for the target groups because one lacks the necessary accommodation and another is hindered by cultural and legislative barriers. The second objective supported by the proposal is to “provide wayfinding tools to guide students, faculty, and visitors to the materials, spaces, and services they need” (Trustees of the California State University, 2021, para. 6). In other words, tools, such as counseling, career assistance, JAWS, CCTV, special textbooks, and admission help can make higher education more available for both students with disabilities and Latino students.
The funding request will improve the accommodation conditions for students with disabilities by increasing the number of computers, which have JAWS and CCTV. In addition, the special textbooks for the visually impaired will be more accessible for the ones in need. Career counselors and education professionals will undergo special training sessions in order to be more competent when assisting students with disabilities. The main issue is centered around career selection suitable for the disability, but counselors are usually not knowledgeable enough to design a career plan around a disability and student needs. Therefore, training will enhance the college’s career center in order to be more competent with students with disabilities.
Moreover, the funding request will also improve the accessibility of community colleges for Latino students by becoming more aware of different pathways for higher education. Addressing the cultural and legislative barriers among Latino students can make the college more aware of such problems. Counselors and educational leaders will be able to help Latino students by being more culturally sensitive and knowledgeable about such intricacies.
Education is the leading productive sector of the economy, on which the functioning and development of society depend. While education will fulfill its main role, which is high-quality training and the release of qualified personnel for all branches of material and non-material production, it will always be a priority. Education needs significant funding, like any industry, to achieve its goals and objectives. Taking this into account, the issue of financing universities and ways to improve the efficiency of the use of existing funds is acute.
In conclusion, the given student equity proposal is aimed to improve the current conditions of accessibility and accommodation for students with disabilities and Latino students. The target groups are selected due to their high level of vulnerability of being unable to enter and use community colleges as a gateway to higher education. For the most part, the funding will be allocated to awareness campaigns, counselor training through special events, and the provision of necessary tools and instruments to make the educational process more welcoming for the target groups. The latter two groups are not small populations, but rather a large portion, where Latino is the biggest minority in the country and a quarter of adults has some form of disability.
Marrero, F. A. (2016). Barriers to school success for Latino students. Journal of Education and Learning, 5(2), 180-186. Web.
Thelin, J. R. (2019). A history of American higher education. Johns Hopkins University Press.
Trustees of the California State University. (2021). Strategic directions. Cal State LA. Web.