The difficult, I'll do right now
The impossible, will take a little while
There was a comment on another blog that just annoyed the crap out of me and continued to bug me. It insinuated that lower income kids can't go to college and that college only has middle and upper middle class kids running around it. My own and the experiences of friends proves that so wrong and I am so sick of that mindset. Also since this is Inshaw, the quick tie in to this is a) it's my blog and b) Shaw and other gentrifying neighborhoods have lower income kids, who may wind up going to college.
Let me start with my aunts and mom. They were girls, in the late 60s. The family was black and sharecroppers in rural North Carolina. My oldest aunt only had two dresses, everyone else got hand-me-downs. Not exactly rolling in dough. My aunts went to small black colleges and became teachers. They helped fund their education by working at colored resorts, one in NY state. Mom didn't go to college because grandpa, on his deathbed, asked her to take care of grandma. Mom did however, many years later went to community college and became a CNA.
For myself, I funded 1 BA, and 2 MAs with student loans, scholarships and grants. I went to state schools. I did work study. My parent's contribution was emotional support, some occasional pocket money, and a place to stay during the summer, but nothing that would begin to even touch the price of tuition, fees and used books.
The more I get to know some of my friends and neighbors I discover that they include people who also put themselves through college with a mix of loans and scholarships. A friend from a working class neighborhood in Texas got his PhD, did a little teaching, didn't get tenure, found another jobs, and in his late 40s finally paid off his student loan. It's the student loan stories that tip you off, as they set off a load of drama on their own.
Back to the neighborhood. There are a few kids, whose moms I guess (I haven't looked at their 1040s so who can say) are lower middle class, but factor in number of people in household, low income. Struggling but making enough to stay out of the social service loop of subsidized housing, food stamps, and other hurry up and wait for crumbs programs. According to HUD (whose site isn't providing an easy link to the data) in FY 2009 a 4 person household (think 1 mom 3 kids) making less than 64K is Low Income in the DC metro area. Three person, 57.6K. Any way the kids went to college. They haven't completed college, yet.
Do I know of any super-low income people who went to college? I keep wondering if the Baltimorean who lived in a van in the UMD-CP parking lot, and has referred to himself as white trash. Later got his degree from that college and now makes gobs more money than me.. does he count?