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February 04, 1983 - Image 12

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1983-02-04
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Washington, assistant director of ad-
missions in Ann Arbor who recruits
high school students from Flint, the
high price of a Michigan education at
Ann Arbor is forcing these students to
stay home longer.
Other Michigan high schools are
noticing a decline in the number of
students interested in the University of
Michigan. More students are opting for
community colleges or other state
schools and some decide against
college altogether to find a job.
In Southfield, for example, parents
who have been laid-off from their jobs
or aren't working as many hours, do not
have the money to pay for their
children to go to the University, says
Todd Henderson, a guidance counselor
at Southfield Lathrup High School.
"The trend is - students are staying
at home. In the '60s or '70s, they had to
get away. Now students are realizing it
is not in the realm of possibility if they
want to further their education. Middle
class kids are in no man's land," Hen-
derson says.
If a middle class student is not top-
notch academically, he can't qualify for
a scholarship. Such students depend on
the bulk of their financial aid to come
from federal and state programs.
More students have to take on jobs to
pay for their education or apply for
Last year Southfield Lathrup sent 64
seniors to the University of Michigan
and 83 more to Michigan State, Hender-
son says, adding that there are
wealthier students who can still afford
to go to the University.
Suburban high schools with good
academic reputations and a large per-
centage of affluent families such as
Shaker Heights High School in Shaker
Heights, Ohio, Walt Whitman High in
Bethesda, Md., and New Trier High
School in Winnetka, Ill., are still sen-
ding a large number of students to
New Trier has 90 percent of its
students going on to college and sends
nearly 85 students to Michigan each
year. The average family income in the
New Trier district is $45,000 to $50,000,
according to college counselor Norm
In Shaker Heights, the University of
Michigan still has a great appeal to its
students, but the, costs are deterring
some of the students, says Al Grigsby, a
guidance counselor at Shaker Heights
High School.
More Shaker Heights students are
looking at state schools, not because of
financial aid, but because parents are
eager to save $5000 by sending their
kids to a state school instead of spen-
ding twice that sb they can go to
"Students look at Michigan as they
would at any private institution, or at
least a less expensive private in-
stitution," Grigsby says.
Michigan is not the only University
where middle class students are trying
to cut corners on higher education. At
the University of California in Los
Angeles, for instance, the school's
prestigious reputation attracts students
who might be considering more expen-
sive private schools like Cal Tech or
"Everyone from those who don't
qualify for financial aid, to the
wealthiest students, are answering the
hard quesiton around the dinner table:
Is Stanford worth twice the price of
UCLA. And the answer is no," said
Richard Moll, director of admissions at
University of California at Santa Cruz.
Moll, who visited Michigan in 1981
while writing his book called The Public
Ivies, to be released this summer, says
these extra applications are a factor in

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the increasing polarization of students
at the university.
While the wealthier student gets a
bargain going to UCLA instead of Stan-
ford, saving the $2000 in tuition, the
middle-to-low income students opt for
community colleges.
T HE CONCERN about this trend
extends past those students who
don't get to Michigan, but also the ef-
fects this trend has on the environment
on campus. Students will miss out on
meeting students from different finan-
cial and racial backgrounds. Meeting
people from different cities, who have
different and perhaps conflicting
values is an essential part of a students
When students from the Detroit
suburbs are thrown at random into
dormitories, they meet people from the
Upper Peninsula in Michigan, Catholics
meet Jews, and whites meet blacks. If
enrollment becomes more
homogeneous, these challenges will be
lost for those students who do come
"It is clearly a loss," says
Christopher Jencks, sociology
professor at Northwestern University.
"You decrease the chance of making
friends unlike yourself. You lose
something, you lose getting to know
about the world."
That diversity, however, is an
idealistic concept, says Jencks. A
hetereogeneous environment is no
guarantee that people will take advan-
tage of the diversity around them.
"People pick their little world and
throw themselves into hanging out with
people like themselves. The real world
is like that too," says Jencks, who co-
authored A book called The Academic

The academic curriculum will also
suffer a decrase in diversity. For
example, if black student enrollment
continues to go down, courses on black
issues will decrease along with the
number of black faculty members.
Jencks' co-author, Professor
Emeritus D. Riesman at Harvard Univer-
sity, calls diversity a myth. "Students
don't know the diversity that is there
now because their friendships are so
superficial. Students don't profit from
their fellow students despite their class
and background diversity," Riesman
He blames financial concerns for ob-
taining jobs after college as a strong
determining factor-in the decline of
middle class students in college.
Students are "running scared,"
Riesman says, instead of doing what in-
terests them, they do what will be
lucrative in the future.
The students learn this attitude from
their parents who are equally worried
about their kids getting a job after
Families have become unwilling to
sacrifice .their own lifestyles for their
children's education, Riesman says.
Many parents will barter with their
kids for their college education.
For instance, one Minnesota parent
promised his child a car and a trip to
Europe if he would attend a community
college for his first two years before
moving on to Macalester College, a
more expensive private school.
That scenario is repeated when a
parent decides to send his son or
daughter to Eastern Michigan Univer-
sity instead of the University of
Michigan. This kind of short-term
thinking will hurt a student in the long
run, Riesman says.
Some faculty members at the Un-

iversity of Mic
trend of affluen<
a reflection of t
"We don't h
who will spend
enrollment. In
faculty raises,"
Bert Hornback
minority studer
and the smalle:
enrolled is due t
In principle t
devoted to it, I
have to do some
"Either you 1
admit you don't
If diversity is
sity, much coul
it. For exampl(
set up to confrc
backgrounds, si
Professor Zelda
The years to
making this t
become full blc
the University
into a group c
same values an
sulated and isol
"The concerr
yet seen evider
ferent student
Peter Steiner. '
now, it might b
happened yet.
years and be a f
The troublir
remains: Will z
university sacr
middle and loi
students frc
statement "Mi(
Midwest" not sc
Barb Misle is

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PPORT TUniversity nightly
2 Weekend/February 4,1983


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