As noted by Lawson (2009 a college education has become intertwined with the concept of success with many thinking that going from high school to college is a natural progression that would lead to landing a good job in the future (Lawson, 34). Yet for many aspiring students college has been noted as becoming increasingly expensive over the years.
Timmer (2011) explains in her study examining the cost of education within the U.S. that as of late the cost of a college education has been exponentially increasing with many students becoming mired in debt before they even graduate. In fact, it is now considered the norm to graduate with an average of $25,000 in student loan fees, credit card debt and miscellaneous expenses (TIMMER, 14).
While some students merely accumulate considerable loans over the span of their college education others attempt another route by paying off their college expenses through part time jobs. As of late, this has become an increasingly popular method of attaining a college degree due to increasing costs and greater competition for scholarships and government loans.
Unfortunately, Rance-Roney (2009) notes that for many students attempting this particular method of supplementing their income the sheer strain of attempting to balance a college degree and work at the same time becomes too much of a burden with many opting to postpone their degrees in order to make a living (Rance-Roney, 73). This has actually resulted in an increase in the rate of college dropouts over the years with only a small percentage actually going back and finishing their degrees.
Due to the current financial recession brought about by the aftereffects of the 2008 financial crisis and the current European debt issue an air of uncertainty has permeated many sectors of the economy with people thinking it is better to have a job with an uncertain future ahead of them as compared to the potential financial destitution they face if they attempt to finish their college degree. This has fueled the increased dropout rates and as such presents itself as issue that needs to be dealt with.
The main problem in this case is not that students are dropping out but rather it is that they are overworked with too much course work that causes them to dropout in the first place.
II. The Problem
The problem isn’t the dropout rate per see but rather the workload that students need to deal with that causes them to dropout in the first place. For students that have part time jobs and attempt to finish their college courses at the same time the ever increasing workloads given to them by their professors continues to strain their ability to balance both activities.
Eventually it will come to a point that a student will need to make a choice between the job that helps them to pay for their education or attempt to finish their education without the job that pays for it.
In most cases students choose the former rather than the later and this creates the dropout rates that can be seen in places such as Ross Community College. While it may be true that there are other related factors to the dropout rate such as the increasing cost of education and the fact that the economy hasn’t been getting any better the fact still remains that the combined workloads of both a college degree and a job are too much for the average student and as such continues to remain a major problem that needs to be resolved.
It must also be noted that contributing to this issue is the fact that colleges and Universities alike have had a lackluster response regarding the issue of students who work and study at the same time. While it may be true colleges and professors don’t have a direct lawful responsibility in the lives and financial problems of their students the fact remains that they do have an ethical responsibility in ensuring that students are able to attain a quality education.
With the growing trend in working college students this problem is not limited to a few students per college but rather an increasingly large percentage that may one day become the majority in most colleges and universities as the price of education continues to increase. As such professors, colleges and universities (Ross community college in particular) need to respond to this situation in a way that address the problem and helps to reduce the number of college dropouts as a direct result of being overworked.
III. The Solution
The solution in this particular case is a simple matter of reducing the workload given to college students who have been identified as belonging to the percentage that work while trying to attain an education. One way of doing this is to have a separate program in colleges and Universities for students who wish to work while studying at the same time can opt to enter into.
The course workloads in these programs will be considerably lighter as compared to the mainstream college programs however the length of time devoted to each individual course will be that much longer in order to make up for the lighter workload.
This benefits working students at Ross College by providing with the opportunity to balance both work and studies while at the same time allows the college and instructors to provide students with a quality education that isn’t compromised by the lighter workload.
Furthermore, this solution fulfills the ethical responsibility of colleges, universities and instructors by providing working students a means of completing their education without being overly burdened by both a hard job and high workloads from their courses.
IV. Body 1- (students)
As mentioned earlier the problem lies in the fact that as the number of students who combine work and education increase it is inevitable that dropout rates will also increase as more students find it harder to juggle both work and their education.
Lawson (2009) indicates that such problems are further worsened by the increasing cost of a college education and as such this makes it necessary for students to support their college life by some form of part time job (Lawson, 34). By applying the special program indicated in the solution section this would enable students to sufficiently juggle both work and their educational career with few adverse consequences.
V. Body 2- (Ross College)
Form a certain perspective it can be stated that Ross College has the ethical responsibility towards students who try to balance both their college and work life. As Rance-Roney (2011) states “schools are learning institutions and at the same time are institutions that should look beyond the limits of curriculum and truly help their students grow as individuals” (Rance-Roney, 73).
Taking this into consideration it becomes necessary to consider that Ross College needs to address the problem of increased dropout rates as a direct result of overburdened students by implementing
VI. Body 3- (instructors)
The study of Thrupp (1995) explains that the academic performance of working students tend to suffers as they attempt to balance both work and education
(Thrupp, 183 – 190). In fact it was even seen that the burden of current college curriculums as well as the problems and exhaustion associated with part time jobs becomes too much for them resulting in the desire for many to drop out of college.
Taking this into consideration, by implementing the proposed solution not only will this enable instructors to properly teach their students but it will ensure that by doing so students are able to receive a quality education as compared to what they would normally receive when under duress and exhaustion.
VII. Counterargument to the Solution itself
The inherent problem with the solution presented that it hinges on the fact that merely reducing the workload itself will result in considerable reduction in dropouts yet it neglects to take into account the fact that there other factors which may influence a person’s choice to drop out.
Financial reasons, personal reasons, or even mere boredom at the concept of continuing a college education are other factors that should be taken into account aside from merely considering the increasing dropout rates are the combined effect of working students and high course loads.
On the other hand Thrupp (1995) indicates that with the growing trend in working students it has become increasingly evident that dropouts rate are being caused by high course workloads and as such this aspect of the dropout problem should not be entirely discounted.
VIII. Alternative solution
One possible alternative solution to this issue would be to limit the allowable courses taken by students who are working and studying at the same time. This would allow them to concentrate on the few subjects that they took up while at same time ensure that they are not overwhelmed by the sheer pressure of having to deal with both work and an unmanageable college workload.
While this solution does present itself as a viable alternative the fact remains that this would needlessly increase the number of years an individual would need to remain in college beyond what would be the case if workloads were decreased and the course length just slightly increased. Based on this the original solution of reducing the overall workload given per course would be a much better solution that the alternative presented.
Based on the facts and arguments presented in the paper it can be seen that the main problem in this case is not that students are dropping out but rather it is that they are overworked with too much course work that causes them to dropout in the first place. As such the solution of implementing lighter course workload for students will help students by enabling them to successfully juggle the responsibilities of both work and their education.
Lawson, Jessica. “College Pitfalls.” Navy Times 58.50 (2009): 34. MasterFILE Premier. Web. 1 Dec. 2011.
Rance-Roney, Judith. “ELLS: What’s The Endgame?.” Educational Leadership 68.7 (2011): 73. MasterFILE Premier. Web. 1 Dec. 2011.
TIMMER, MARY. “Saving For College And Other Fairy Tales.” Grand Rapids Family Magazine 23.2 (2011): 14. MasterFILE Complete. Web. 1 Dec. 2011.
Thrupp, Martin. “The School Mix Effect: The History Of An Enduring Problem In Educational Research, Policy And Practice.” British Journal Of Sociology Of Education 16.2 (1995): 183-203. Academic Search Premier. Web. 1 Dec. 2011.