Why We Should Remove General Education Requirements

Jalaun Ross, Contributor

We need to get rid of general education requirements. A bachelor’s degree is a matter of survival, yet many students at CCSU aren’t graduating.  

The most recent graduation rate available for black men who attend CCSU, according to a sample study done by the National Center for Education Statistics, is 32.4 percent. According to our Office of Institutional Research, the most recent graduation rate for African American students in CCS is 49 percent over a 6-year period 

While the most recent graduation rate for all students in CCSU is 55 percent in 6 years.  

Nationally, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, black men’s most recent graduation rate is 38 percent in 6 years. For all African Americans, it’s 45 percent in 6 years. 

 As of 2020, only about 37.5 percent of the U.S population aged 25 and above have had graduated from college.  

Why does this matter?  

We need degrees to afford the cost of living. 

According to a report from the Personal Capital website, Americans say in order to feel financially healthy; they think they need to be making roughly $122,000 a year.

The average American makes around $52,000 a year.  

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has long held that housing should not consume more than 30 percent of your household income. 

Without spending more than 30 percent of their income, the average American must make at least $20 an hour for a one-bedroom rental home.  

Without a college degree, many lack necessities.

The National Low Income Housing Coalition has found that there is nowhere in the country where a person working 40 hours a week making minimum wage can afford rent for a two-bedroom property. 

Along with not being able to afford life necessities such as housing, food, clean water, clothing, transportation, and education (or living in poverty), various adverse health outcomes result, including higher infant mortality rates, greater risk of exposure to violence, increased likelihood of dropping out of school, increased risk of developing mental illness, shorter life expectancy, and increased risk of suicide.  

College degrees are more necessary than ever. But why would I say to get rid of general education courses? Because looking at the history of U.S. Colleges, they’re not for our benefit. 

In 1910, the vast majority of Americans had never graduated high school. Only about 14 percent of all Americans above age 25 had a high school diploma. However, as the industrial revolution continued to take place, employers needed workers with new skills. We needed college because employers required skilled workers, which is true today.  

When world war II neared its end in 1944, Congress passed the G.I Bill of Rights, providing veterans with $500 a year for college tuition, for-profit trade schools, and many “fly-by-night” schools charged precisely $500 a year to collect all of the G.I bill money. Schools also started charging money for courses in fields where little to no employment existed.  

In 1973, college tuition was only $358, homes were $17,000, and the average age a man had a family was around 21 years old. 

In 1989, when Bill Bennett wrote “our greedy colleges”, he argued that Congress was “feeding a beast with an insatiable appetite” by continuing to give students money to attend. Colleges responded by saying that tuition price was beyond their control. However, the truth was colleges were going on extensive hiring and construction sprees. Colleges added more palatable food in the cafeterias, fitness centers for those who want to work out in style, more amenities in residence halls, better campus security, counseling programs, health services, job placement programs”, The Denver Post reported in 1989.  

In 1991, Senator Nunn released information saying, “Schools have been “exploiting both the ready availability of billions of dollars of guaranteed student loans and the weak and inattentive system responsible for them, leaving hundreds of thousands of students with little or no training, no jobs, and significant debt that they cannot repay.” 

 In 2006, rise in college enrollment was mostly driven by disproportionately poor, black, Hispanic, first-time college-goers who attended schools with low or no admission standards such as community colleges, for-profit schools, and HBCUs. These students relied on loans because while Ivy Leagues had resources for full rides, other colleges didn’t. 

In 2018, the Education Department noticed that a considerable number of borrowers weren’t paying their loans, but they owed more than they originally borrowed because of the accumulating interest. 

Are general education courses indeed in our best interest? Of course not.  

We need to get one thing perfectly clear, and this is not my opinion but a fact: the number one reason students drop out of college is because they cannot afford it. College tuition has increased a whopping 2,580 percent between 1970 and 2021. The rate of students that have dropped out should be of no surprise as a result of overpriced tuition prices for courses that aren’t even related to the job fields they’re interested in. Costs need to be cut all around and this begins with general education courses. If it isn’t used on the job, why teach it? If you have successfully completed middle school and high school, you already have a base-level education. Whatever knowledge employers want, and the economy has a demand for, is what should be taught. That’s how students can be set up for their most successful futures.