OPINION: ELAC shouldn’t neglect continuing, older students

CN/ Ivana Amaral

By Steven Adamo

ELAC should offer more scholarship opportunities to students who aren’t new or transferring, but just trying to learn new things. School budgets generally favor student enrollment and transfer rates, offering little financial help to older ELAC students and those who work full-time. 

If a student has already earned an AA degree and is either looking to brush up their skills or change fields, there are no options for financial aid other than a fee waiver– if the student qualifies. 

Most scholarships available require you to be a new or transferring student, or a minimum of 12 units per semester. 

People working a full time job or multiple part-time jobs find it difficult to manage 12 units on top of an unpredictable schedule. 

College is a place to learn new things, make mistakes and learn from those mistakes. One beneficial part of college is the ability to try different fields in order to see if it’s a potential career path. 

During an ELAC budget meeting last semester, an employee from the Los Angeles Community College District spoke about the 2018-2019 budget. Most of the discussion was focused on new ways to help students from high school and transferring students. However, students who don’t have a solid educational plan were overlooked completely. When asked about older students, the representative said that the budget offered nothing to them. 

Older students can often bridge the divide between students and professors. Those who have work experience can offer a unique dynamic to the classroom. 

Based on personal experience, students have been more welcoming to age than other adults, staff and administration. 

There are plenty of reasons to take courses that are outside of a student’s educational plan. 

Many educational fields overlap, but if a student is interested in a course that doesn’t fit within a specific education plan, taking those courses can impact financial aid in the future. 

An Associates Degree is typically called a “two-year degree,” but when you factor in full-time employment, realistically it’s closer to four years. If students are working full time, attending a university sometimes seems like an impossible goal. 

Skills like learning multiple languages can be a huge benefit to those working in technology fields because of the global reach. ELAC is a unique place to learn new languages because students can practice with students from a variety of backgrounds, making it easier to retain the knowledge. 

Though the federal government touts record-low unemployment rates in the U.S., what kind of jobs are they? Most modern jobs— in any field— require multiple tasks, oftentimes doing the work of two or three jobs. Combined with such a competitive market, the fear of losing your job for requesting fair compensation is real.

It’s been reported frequently that large corporations like Amazon and Netflix continue to pay nothing in taxes. 

However, those record-profits don’t “trickle down” to the workers who help make those companies so profitable. 

If workers can’t be paid a living wage, how are they expected to pay for schooling or pay back student loans once they’ve finished? 

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