By Meredith Chase-Mitchell
One morning in 2011 I opened my university email to learn that a Whole Foods will be opening on my campus in Washington, DC. If you are familiar with Whole Foods and its aisles of organic and tasty treats, you're also aware of its extraordinary price tags for an orange you can get for a fraction of the price at Pathmark or even the nice man on the corner with the wagon ( for my NYC natives) . I was rather surprised by the choice of supermarkets opening on a college campus and then I remembered that The George Washington University is one of the most expensive Universities in the US, # 3 to be exact ( in 2011) at $51, 730 a year. Many of its students can afford the tuition without a blink, but what about those who cannot?
Seeing this price tag of a little over $50,000 a year for undergraduate and graduate programs ( Education, Law and Medical ), make it the first leap into debt for a student who relies on loans and family. However, this price tag is one that many see as worth it, as GW has an incredible reputation nationwide with only a 36% acceptance rate.
When we argue that an education, especially a quality one, is a right as an American, are we including schools with a tuition that may exceed a family's annual income? Or can the poor, underserved and underrepresented only be offered the best in terms of what is in their community? Have we made the elite tier 1, expensive university a right as well, or is this when the division begins?
We all stand strong that little Billy should not dodge bullets on his way to school as a first grader, that Kelly should not have to refuse drugs from a dealer on her way to the 5th grade and that Doug should not be socially promoted in 10th grade when he struggles with his academics. If we organize for school safety , pass legislation requiring more teacher training, and offer additional programs for after school instruction- where is the movement to make sure that Billy, Kelly, and Doug can also attend the best of the best in the country not their community? Do their rights end at tuition costs?
Speak on it!