If four-year colleges are serious about lowering barriers of entry for first generation students, they need to be more open to students transferring from community colleges and recognizing life and work experience, according to Penn GSE’s Manuel González Canché.
Speaking about knowledge discrimination on KYW’s Flashpoint, González Canché described how American power structures, including universities, are intentionally or unintentionally perpetuating discrimination.
González Canché is an expert in college access and affordability. His work has challenged traditional ideas about access, persistence, and success in higher education, and has led to a better understanding of the effect of location, influence, and competition.
Many minority and first-generation students enroll in college but have to drop out because of financial and life pressure, González Canché said. In many cases, they have the skills to perform jobs that require bachelor’s degrees, but can’t get hired. Colleges and businesses should both do more to recognize these peoples’ abilities.
“We know people are very smart,” González Canché said. “We know they are competent. They just need the degree for getting the social credit.”