Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum called President Obama a “snob” for calling for every student to go to college. More accurately, the President was calling for all students to go on to some type of post-secondary education, whether that be a 4-year college, a 2-year college, vocational training or an apprenticeship.
At Farther Foundation, it is our hope and our goal that the summer opportunities that we make possible for high school students will inspire them to continue their education at as high a level as possible. Are we wrong or being snobbish in pursuing this goal? Are we projecting a bias about what we think is best for students and families on a group of students that might have a different set of experiences, beliefs and expectations? We have been thinking about this question for the last couple of weeks.
Farther Foundation has been feeling very good about our program results. 100% of our eligible student participants had graduated high school on gone on to college. Just two weeks ago however, we heard from one of our alumni that due to financial concerns, he found it necessary to go into the workforce full time, and delay pursuing his college education.
It’s clear that not every job or career requires a college education, and a degree does not guarantee success or happiness. If I can quote from the movie Caddyshack, “The world needs ditch diggers too”, so if we were to all go out and get our PHDs, some of us doctors would be doing rocket science while others would be digging ditches.
But, it is also clear that people with a college education are less likely to be unemployed, earn much more money over their lifetimes, are less likely to be incarcerated, are more likely to have health insurance, are more likely to vote, and surpass their less educated counterparts in a number of other quality of life indicators.
That is why Farther Foundation will continue to strive to provide experiences and encouragement that inspire students to seek higher education. We believe education leads to more possibilities, and having more choices empowers us to pursue happiness and our highest aspirations more successfully.
So, we are happy for all of our travel alumni who are continuing their education in high school and college. And, we are happy for our one alumnus who is employed and is making his way in the world – and we hope he has the opportunity, in time, to also pursue higher education. Lastly, we are happy that 95% of our eligible alumni are currently pursuing post-secondary education – and that we have the support of so many generous donors to make it all happen.
Farther Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization providing scholarships to low-income students to inspire them to reach their highest aspirations through educational travel experiences.