No shame in starting small

Domanique Crawford, Opinion Editor

Forced to a dinner party with your parents, you have to suffer as their friends drone on about their children’s academic accomplishments. Brad is at Stanford to become a surgeon and Jessica at Julliard will be the world’s greatest ballerina. Amongst the polite inquiries, someone finally asks what school you are attending and your academic goals.

Your  head  hangs  low as you  explain you’re attending a community college. The conversation stumbles and condescending accolades of “how nice” are dispersed. Your community college attendance is considered “less than,” inferior to a university education. But should you feel ashamed?

There is a lot of pressure to graduate from a prestigious institution when the main focus should be on obtaining a degree. Many successful people began their education at a community college and have worked their way to the top of their fields. SRJC graduate Jonny Gomes is now a left fielder for the Oakland Athletics. Tom Hanks started his career at Chabot College, and poet Gwendolyn Brooks graduated from Wilson Junior College.

The No. 1 reason to attend a community college is because the cost is cheaper, and with Obama’s proposed “America’s College Promise” to make community college tuition free for “responsible students,” more students will have access to higher education.

According to the College Board, the average tuition and fees at public two-year colleges for the 2014-15 school year were $3,347. At public, four-year colleges the tuition and fees were $9,139 not including room and board. The average annual in-state two-year college tuition in California was $4,945 for the 2013-14 academic year, stated collegecalc.org.
America’s College Promise would create a partnership with the federal and state government to cover the cost of tuition. This would allow for full-time community college students to save an average of $3,800 in tuition per year.  To qualify for the program students have to be at least half time and maintain a 2.5 GPA, according to the White House fact sheet.

Community colleges provide students with two-year obtainable degrees and certificates in specific trades, allow disabled students and high school graduates to obtain extra help with general education credits and offer transfer programs to four-year universities.

According to a study by The Center on Education and the Workforce, by 2018 we will need 22 million new workers with college degrees. This College Promise will help students reach their academic goal. The shame belongs to those who belittle any form of higher education, not those seeking to further their education.