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Have you ever thought about all the different components that affect the way a person learns and the education they receive? One of the most common things that affects someone’s opportunities is their socioeconomic status. Socioeconomic status is defined as a measure of a person’s economic and social status, usually having to do with education, profession, and salary. This determines the person’s quality of life and well-being. Socioeconomic status such as what class someone fits within, whether they are of immigrant status, or their ethnicity and other categorization factors could influence the opportunities they get.
One possible socioeconomic status is lower class or poverty. This has a huge influence on how many opportunities a student receives. In The Secret to Fixing Bad Schools by David Kirp, he explains, “That these schools are generously financed clearly makes a difference — not every community will decide to pay for two years of prekindergarden — but too many districts squander their resources (171).” Kids in K-12 grade miss out on this experience and the “lifetime benefits” and they lack the resources and materials they need.
When you get to college it gets worse. In Average Student Loan Debt Nears $27,000 by Blake Ellis, he says, “At 114 colleges, graduates had average debt above $35,000, while 64 colleges said that more than 90% of seniors graduate with debt (168) .” People from the lower class cannot afford the college rates that are charged and do not want to be in debt either. This makes many people not go to college, because of the dramatic consequences.
Where someone is from and how they got there also affects educational opportunities. For example, if the student is an immigrant, they may not be able to get the amount of schooling as any other student in both K-12 and college. In Out of My Hands, Antonio Alvarez states, “Along with our residential status, anti-immigrant laws have shaped our lives in the United States. My parents said that the laws that have affected us most severely include California’s Proposition 187, which was approved by voters in 1994 (166).” California’s Proposition 187 made it to where immigrants cannot get the same benefits as a citizen, including health care and education. Out of My Hands also says, “…but when I learned that I could not receive any federal or state financing to attend a four-year university, I became demoralized, and my grades suffered from it (Alvarez 166).” Not only does the author have limited options for college, but he lost his confidence and motivation. Personally, I know one of my close friends is in the process of gaining his citizenship. He graduated high school with a scholarship to a California school for sports, but could not go because he did not have his social security number. Even though he earned it, his choices were limited because of his situation.
Lastly, the ethnic group or gender identification could influence the number of educational chances they get. There are many scholarships targeting minorities. In the painting, The Problem We All Live With by Norman Rockwell (161), it shows one of the many challenges people of minority had to go through. Because of these troubles they had to endure, there are individual scholarships available to them rather than Caucasian people. This also goes for genders too; there are more scholarships available to females than males, because of the minority of female education in the past. This mainly helps increase the diversity in these colleges.
Some people may believe that socioeconomic status does not play in opportunities for students. The thought that this does play into education may just be a stereotype. For instance, someone who is from a lower income family may be believed to not do as well as a child from a more fortunate family. Some assume that just because someone does not have a lot of money may mean that they can’t have the motivation to do well in school. In fact, the student may not do well, because of the exception already engraved in their head that they could not possibly succeed.
Socioeconomic status does in fact influence the opportunities they get. Factors being social class, status of immigration, or categorization factors can actually give you more chances and choices. Colleges are looking for applicants that have overcome obstacles and did not let their disadvantages mess them up and this socioeconomic status plays into the picture.
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