We've all heard about it. In fact, it's almost impossible to avoid the ongoing narrative about the rising costs of student loans. Teens often wonder if going to college is worth taking on debt, even with the overwhelming evidence that confirms that yes, in fact, it is indeed worth it. Many students, especially from low-income families, might be starting to reconsider the benefits of college when they begin to look at the challenges that lie ahead. Some of those questioning college the most are first-generation students, independent financially, or a parent to one or more children leaving them with less time to get information about financial aid, careers, what classes to take, and much, much more. The question is, how can we educators help highly-motivated TXGU'ers overcome daunting barriers like these in order to succeed?
Many low-income students have a lot of hurdles to clear on their path to college, but couple that with the fact that most are choosing majors with low earning potentials—perhaps due to a lack of knowledge regarding what careers are actually out there—and college starts to look like a pretty bleak option. Luckily, the TXGU website has 500 career descriptions, forecasts, salaries, and school requirements all in one place for students to explore a wide range of potential jobs. But aside from reviewing options with them, educators can also actively usher women and minorities into STEM programs. It's no shock to anyone in education that STEM careers are severely lacking diversity, and many companies like Google and Apple are actively recruiting unique and talented minds from all backgrounds, but especially among women and minorities. Bonus: These careers are in-demand and offer high-paying positions—that's a pretty good return on anyone's college investment. And while some TXGU'ers might initially look to the future and see darkness, our role as educators can be the light that helps them on their way.