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Making a difference: One story at a time

One NCC alumnus reached out to students on campus to provide their personal backstories in a campaign to make a difference in the higher education system.

After his studies at NCC, Brandon Karasinski began working as a Student Ambassador for the organization American Forward that created a campaign called “Today’s Student.”

This campaign gives a metaphorical megaphone to students to recall the hardships they have encountered during their higher education. By providing background, the information is given to Washington politicians in order to make a change in the system.

It is often believed that college students are from the ages of 18-21, from middle-class two parent households and graduate with little to no debt after four years. However, you don’t have to go far on campus to find a college student with external obligations.

Today’s Student reported that 75 percent of college students today juggle family, jobs, or both in their personal lives. This paints a clearer picture as to why 40 percent of students attend college only part-time.

Their research shows that college students today are older and more racially diverse. About 40 percent of students attending college are older than 25.

Since the mid ‘90s enrollment tripled among Hispanic students while African-American enrollment grew by 72 percent. Their research predicts that by 2021, African-American enrollment will grow by 25 percent, Hispanic enrollment by 42 percent, and 4 percent for Caucasians.

With almost half of college students financially independent, the numbers show the struggles that bond with this. More than 42 percent of first-year college students in 2008 lived near or below poverty levels. Also, showing that 3.9 million postsecondary students are parents with 57 percent of them residing at the low-income levels.

Today’s Student is working to better the education process for college students. Some goals include reforming student aid programs like FAFSA to reduce student debt, public reporting of student outcomes, corporate and non-profit partnerships, new credentialing and certification for in-demand workforce skills, more hands-on learning experiences in partnership with nonprofits and businesses, and expanding service year programs like AmeriCorps and CityYear.

NCC drips from the walls with diversity from 45 countries, 24 states and 53 counties, as well as varying generations of students that attend the college. Today’s Student encourages these students to tell their own story in the hopes for a better future for college students everywhere.

For further information, students can contact america_forward@nullnewprofit.org