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As a parent, there are so many things we want to teach our children, and I often think about how to incorporate life lessons into our daily routine. One thing we strongly encourage in our household is learning – whether it’s my 5-year-old asking how to spell a word or my 3-year-old asking how rain falls from the sky. We encourage them to ask questions – sometimes, we get more than we bargain for (and it feels like I’m playing 20 Questions!), but it’s worth it to see their minds at work.
From the time my firstborn was old enough to communicate, we’ve talked about how important and exciting it will be to attend school and later, college. I strongly believe our positive conversations surrounding education have made her excited to start school next fall. My husband and I frequently reminisce on our college days and tell fun stories to our girls from time to time and they both talk about how they want to attend college like we did. Ultimately, we want them to make decisions for themselves, but the fact is, college is still worth it and we plan to encourage them to pursue higher education.
As adults, we all know there’s value in attending college, but many of us also have firsthand experience with student loan debt. Being riddled with significant debt in order to get a degree can be disheartening and for many, can cause serious financial strain. Higher education is so critical for the social and economic growth of our communities and for breaking the cycle of poverty, yet pursuing higher education often puts an unreasonable amount of debt on the students who are trying to better themselves for personal and professional growth.
A major issue nowadays is the fact that states are continually reducing their support of public colleges and universities, which means that students are facing more of the financial burden. Fortunately, Higher Ed Works, an organization that supports higher education in North Carolina, is actively advocating for affordable tuition for all North Carolina residents. The organization focuses on the North Carolina constitutional mandate in article IX, section 9, which essentially states that the benefits of public colleges and universities in the state should be extended to residents at an affordable rate, as it ultimately impacts the future of individuals and the economy as a whole.
From a parent’s perspective, we would do anything to support our children – so we should play a role in making sure our state is providing affordable education for future generations. Attending college is still such an important factor for achieving life goals, and most jobs will require some form of postsecondary education, whether it’s a certification from a community college or a four-year degree from a university. As for our family, we will continue to discuss the value of attending college with our kids and advocate for affordable higher education in North Carolina.
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