How Removing Barriers to Higher Education Can Help Prevent a Life of Incarceration
Higher education is not the easy, attainable goal that many think it is when there are barriers in place like high cost and the admission process. For those students who did not grow up in an affluent area, a college education is more of a dream than a reality. These individuals then get sucked into a life of crime, one that leads to a lifetime of incarceration.
Research has previously shown that keeping children in school beyond the age of 18, which is when crime peaks, has been proven to lower incarceration rates. Unfortunately, many children stop going to school once they graduate high school at the age of 17 or 18. These students are not getting the proper education that could lead to a better life.
The barriers in place
There are many barriers in place for all students. However, when students are surrounded by crime and in a lower socioeconomic class, they are more likely to be involved in crime and shirk school. That’s because the biggest barrier in place for all individuals is a lack of support. If someone is not encouraging these students to apply for college, those applications are long and hard to complete. The students may think that there is no benefit to applying to college without emotional encouragement.
Another barrier in place is a lack of resources. Schools that are in higher social economic areas usually receive more funding and college preparation. School counselors and teachers are consistently talking and showcasing the benefits of a college degree. Those who grow up outside of these areas have a much different story. Many of the teachers in lower socioeconomic areas are focused on their students graduating high school, and it’s rare that they encourage or help with college applications.
Finally, the last barrier, and often one of the most important, is the cost to higher education. Not only are colleges expensive to go to, but the applications are not free either. With each application costing an average of $42, many students are fearful that they will not have the funds to apply. If they do apply, many students can only afford one or two applications, which lowers their chances of being accepted to a good institution.
Removing the barriers for less crime
Lack of support and not enough school resources can be removed by educating all high school faculty about the importance of a college education for all students that are in crime-susceptible areas. If teachers knew that those without proper education are 70% more likely to commit a crime, it may help them to understand how important it is to encourage, help, and support those students who want to go to college.
People spend a lot of money in taxes for incarcerated individuals. If those tax dollars could be used in the prevention of crime by encouraging higher education, crime could go down. While college tuition may always be high, removing the barrier associated with application costs can help widen the scope for applications to include students that are in lower socioeconomic classes. Everyone benefits from lower crime rates, which is why removing these barriers should be of the highest importance.