American higher education suffers from two main problems: getting kids in and keeping them there to get their degrees. That was the message delivered Monday at UB by University of Pennsylvania Higher Education Professor Laura Perna.
Perna appeared as part of the Dean's Distinguished Lecture series for the Graduate School of Education. The professor says there are problems from poor high school preparation to a financial aid system which often doesn't help.
Perna says high school preparation is a real problem for getting in and staying in college.
"The broader issue around academic readiness, though, certainly in West Philadelphia where Penn is located, there are a lot of really important structural issues that limit the extent to which students who are graduating from West Philadelphia high schools are academically ready to go to college without having to first participate in developmental education, let along get into a place like Penn," Perna said.
Perna says there aren't enough high school counselors to work with kids who aren't familiar with the entire college entrance system and how to get financial help.
She says there is also a problem of students who have the capacity to attend the best schools in the country and get the financial aid to do that who don't even apply.