California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

    Universities Need To Promote Economic Equality

    Are you able to reach and accomplish the American Dream? Is everyone and anyone able to accomplish this dream that sets the foundation for our country?


    It would be nice to say that in America everyone is equal and everyone has access to a better life than the current one they have, but that is not the case. If this were true, then why are all but one of our past and present political leaders white? Why are the majority of those who work in the White House white men? Why is it that majority of the people that have credibility and/or economic success are one color? This is because children of lower income families are not given opportunity and children of the rich are. In America, we are mitigating the middle class and creating a permanent lower class.

    I am tired of hearing others tell minorities to do better for themselves-to not repeat the cycle that they were born into and to work hard so that they can have a voice. I am tired of hearing this because how does one climb if they are never given a ladder?

    According to an article posted on Politco titled, โ€œHow U.S. news college rankings promote economic inequality on campus,โ€ a project known as the Equality of Opportunity Project showed that, โ€œmany top universities, including Princeton and Yale, admit more students from the top 1 percent of earners than the bottom 60 percent combined.โ€

    This shows that only the rich can get richer and the poor must stay poor. This is not what America stands for.

    According to Watson Institute International and Public Affairs at Brown University, The Equality of Opportunity Project works to develop policies that eliminate this issue and strive for economic mobility on college campuses. According to The Equality of Opportunity website, this project gives college campuses โ€œmobility report cards,โ€ where they assess the statistics of admitted students โ€œearnings and their parentโ€™s incomes.โ€

    This is positive in that colleges are able to see if there is economic inequality amongst their students. People of all backgrounds need to have access to an education in order to pursue their dreams.

    โ€œWe do no service to a student to have a monogamous/homogenous community that is monochromatic. That is not what higher education is about. It is about giving diversity breadth and depth and that is driven by someoneโ€™s economic background and what they bring to the table,โ€ Michael Elgarico, director of admissions at California Lutheran University, said.

    When minorities only see one type of person in higher up positions and only those people are pursuing a higher education, there is limited visibility that this is an option for them as well.

    โ€œColleges and universities need to engage a wide enough audience so students coming from lower economic backgrounds know what their opportunities are,โ€ Elgarico said.

    When universities are admitting so many students from the top one percent of the economic scale and minimal admissions from the lower 60 percent it is obvious that the priority is not to help everyone regardless of their effort and perseverance but rather its making the institution richer. By failing to prioritize equality, universities are sending out the message that if you do not have money we do not want you here. For this reason, society needs to stop telling minorities to work hard to change their stereotypes and focus on the real issue: unequal opportunity.

    The Equality of Opportunity Project has shown that there is a โ€œfading American Dream.โ€ The project has shown that โ€œchildren’s prospects of earning more than their parents have fallen from 90 percent to 50 percent over the past half century.โ€

    Economic and ethnic backgrounds need to be taken into account when universities are admitting students. When one does not have the same privileges as another, not only is access limited but it is harder to attain. When growing up more modestly, there sometimes comes adversity and that needs to be taken into consideration so these students can be admitted and thought about when trying to pursue a higher education.

    โ€œIt is not just about the GPA and SAT score. It is about everything else that helps a student show resiliency, determination and how they are going to come to this campus,โ€ Elgarico said.

    If this were taken into consideration I believe students of all backgrounds would be more aware of these options.

    According to Elgarico, almost 50 percent of Cal Lutheran students are from diverse backgrounds and over one-fifth are first generation students.

    โ€œOur university is founded on the principal of helping students discover their purpose. That means we are trying to give opportunities to do that. It is important to understand that we are an inclusive institution and we are trying to invite individuals and voices that are counter to everybody elseโ€™s,โ€ Elgarico said.

    I think this is important for all universities to understand. universities need to represent inclusivity. It is not fair that only the rich are able to get richer. If universities took all aspects of a studentโ€™s background into account, then maybe more minorities and children of lower economic backgrounds would be able to actually earn a living and have a voice in this world.

    Maryssa Rillo
    Opinion Editor