In the article, “Does Financial Support for Medical Students from Low-Income Families Make a Difference? A Qualitative Evaluation,” Hugh and Ussher examine the impact of any financial support on medical students’ educational decision-making processes. The authors chose medical students for their analysis because this group of students has a higher length of study (five years instead of three), longer semesters, and a more considerable number of term-time travels (Hugh and Ussher 2).
The researchers aimed to gather information about the medical students’ attitude to receiving the study bursary from the National Scholarship Program (NSP) and the impact of such financial help on their academic performance and well-being (Hugh and Ussher 2). The authors used a qualitative descriptive method of study, surveying focus groups and conducting face-to-face interviews with ten medical school students in London (Hugh and Ussher 3).
The research showed that most of the students considered bursary a good scheme because it allowed them to feel more secure and focus on their education. At the same time, different medical placements and reduced bursary in the future semesters aroused stress. The authors conclude that further research is needed about the impact of limited bursary amounts on the students’ well-being and ability to work in the future years of study.
In “High-Achieving, Low-Income Students’ Perspectives of How Schools Can Promote the Academic Achievement of Students Living in Poverty,” Williams, Greenleaf, Barness, and Scott focus on the perspectives of high-achieving low-income students on the ways schools can improve the academic performance of those students who live in unfavorable financial conditions. The authors use a qualitative phenomenological study to discover different students’ attitudes to and thoughts on low-income pupils’ educational achievement. Williams et al. chose middle-school students as the scope of their research (2). The number of participants was 24, and they were from diverse racial and cultural groups (Williams et al. 2).
The participants were the applicants of the Jack Kent Cooke Young Scholars Program, the program that provides academic support and scholarships to those disadvantaged students whose achievements are high despite their financial problems (Williams et al. 3). The authors conclude that schools can help low-income students improve their academic performance, generating a culture of hope, developing relational networks, and creating parent-school interaction. A school aims to listen to the students’ needs and guide them in the right direction toward their educational goals with the help of the available means.
In “Income Segregation between School Districts and Inequality in Students’ Achievement,” Owens examines educational inequalities between students with different financial statuses and of different races. The author tries to discover whether achievement gaps in more segregated metropolitan areas are higher than those in less segregated ones. Owens uses a quantitative research method to assess the relationship between income achievement gaps and income segregation.
The researcher argues that income segregation negatively affects students’ achievements (Owens 4). She takes data from the Panel Study on Income Dynamics (PSID), a longitudinal study of families and their incomes, children’s test scores, and races (Owens 5). One thousand two hundred and two children from 170 middle schools were included in a descriptive statistic (Owens 6).
Two dependent variables of the descriptive statistics were math and reading standardized scores, while independent variables were lifetime mean family income ($2002) and income segregation between educational establishments’ districts (Owens 6). The author uses the rank-order information theory index and the binary information theory index to estimate segregation (Owens 7). The study results showed that income segregation negatively affects the students’ achievements and the black-white score gap (Owens 17). The author concludes that students’ future outcomes depend on the conditions in which they are raised.
In “American Education, Meritocratic Ideology, and the Legitimation of Inequality: The Community College and the Problem of American Exceptionalism,” Brint and Karabel focus on different features of American education and compare it to other educational systems. The authors use a comparative and historical perspective to analyze the subject. One of the most distinctive features of American education is that it provides students with multiple chances to improve their grades and succeed (Brint and Karabel 726). Even those students who have low grades have the right to higher education.
Unlike many European institutions, American educational establishments offered both academic and vocational subjects in the same college. Moreover, American institutions offered fluidity to their students, allowing low-income students to study and have part-time or full-time jobs (Brint and Karabel 728). Such a “classlessness” in the educational system has a diverse impact on society. The authors argue that the lack of segmentation in American schools may be a source of equal opportunity and its reinforcement (Brint and Karabel 729). Students from low-income families have equal opportunities to succeed in their future careers.
The lack of segregation would produce a classless society, encouraging individual growth over collective advancement. Brint and Karabel claim that although the American educational system is open to all, it promotes intergenerational inequality (731). Moreover, the state is “stingy” in its social security expenditures and financial support for low-income students (Brint and Karabel 732). Such an attitude toward the allocation of resources to education results in the enhancement of income inequality.
Brint, Steven, and Jerome Karabel. “American Education, Meritocratic Ideology, and the Legitimation of Inequality: The Community College and the Problem of American Exceptionalism.” Higher Education, vol. 18, no. 6, 1989, pp. 725-735.
Claridge, Hugh, and Michael Ussher. “Does Financial Support for Medical Students from Low Income Families Make a Difference? A Qualitative Evaluation.” BMC Medical Education, vol. 19, no. 153, 2019, pp. 1-8.
Owens, Ann. “Income Segregation between School Districts and Inequality in Students’ Achievement.” Sociology of Education, vol. 91, no. 1, 2018, pp. 1-27.
Williams, Joseph M., et al. “High-Achieving, Low-Income Students’ Perspectives of How Schools Can Promote the Academic Achievement of Students Living in Poverty.” Improving Schools, vol. 22, no. 3, 2019, pp. 1-13.