WTH is Education Desert? 3,5% US Students Are Challenged With Distance While Pursuing Higher Education

3 years ago



While some college students want to live as far from their homes as possible, others prefer staying closer. As a matter of fact, most of the full-time college students choose universities that are less than 50 miles from their hometowns. And it’s not a surprising fact at all, because studying near your home is very convenient, especially for older students who have to work full-time or take care of their kids. However, not everybody can study close to home, since there are huge areas all around the country with no colleges at all known as education deserts. So what are the education deserts and what impact do they have on our society? The Typical Student team is going to figure it out!

First of all, let us find those education free areas. There are almost no valid researches on this topic except The Chronicle analysis of education deserts. They identified about 1,500 public colleges with an acceptance rate of more than 30% and then defined the areas of each college service. In other words, they calculated the driving distance between the nearby towns and college campuses. So those towns that were less than a 60-minute drive from a campus were considered to be in the college area.


So then The Chronicle identified the areas of the education deserts.


Moreover, The Chronicle’s investigation has found out that about 11.2 million adults, which is 3.5 percent of the U.S. adult population, live in the education deserts and have no public colleges close to their homes.


In this way, they say that areas identified as education deserts are predominantly rural areas mostly in the West. Besides, Alaska, Wyoming, North Dakota, and Montana are among the states that have the highest percentage of adults who live more than a 60-minute drive from a public college.


For instance, despite the fact that Montana has colleges and universities in most of its biggest cities, there are still huge education deserts all over the state.


However, what do we know about those people who live in education deserts? Most of them are white, which is a disproportionate amount comparing with the total United States population.


Moreover, most of Native Americans after their forced migrations are clustered in rural areas that are far from public colleges. The Chronicle’s investigation proved that 29.5 percent of all Native American population live in education deserts and have no chance to get the higher education.


Native Americans comparing with white Americans are 5 times more likely to live in the area with no colleges around. That is why big distances do not allow Native Americans to get the higher education.


Besides, people who live in rural areas do not earn enough money to afford to study in any college, since the incomes in such areas are low. 


Not to mention the fact that living in education deserts means living in poverty as well. Around 13 percent of people from education deserts live beyond the national poverty line.


So would anybody take any steps to solve the education desert problem? We’ll see.

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Any questions or propositions?