Top students’ college rejections could trickle down

For many born in Ohio, the day we were taken home from the hospital we were given an Ohio State sweatshirt. We had it instilled in our brains at a young age that we would grow up and go to the nearby state university.

Recent trends show that this once common occurrence is no longer the norm.

A story from the Wall Street Journal last week found an explosion in applications to college – but not at Ivy League schools, as would be expected. Top students are now looking to go to state schools, and this trend is creating a trickle down effect.

State universities offer cheaper costs, so even valedictorian-type students are heading to public schools because they cannot afford Harvard or Yale. So, these students go to the public state school, and more average students, who were once the bread and butter of the public four-year institution, end up at a community college. Those students who would otherwise go to community college may just end up out of luck. There aren’t statistics to support this notion yet, but it’s a real possibility.

It’s the middle class dream for children to go to Ohio State, Kent State or any number of Ohio’s state universities. It’s considered a birthright.

But now, the kids who once made a better life for themselves at state universities are finding their test scores and grades are not good enough to be accepted. A student with a 3.6 GPA and an SAT of 1050 could be rejected from the state university he or she had dreamed of since birth. And while this hasn’t been that prevalent in Ohio, it has developed in other states.

Retention is the big issue right now at Kent State, but the probability of something like this affecting this school is not out of the question. While our recent enrollment is down, over the years it has trended up. Eventually, the university could reach capacity, leaving traditional students out in the cold.

Sure, state schools can brush off their long-term stigma by raising entrance GPAs and standardized test scores. But if college becomes off-limits for moderately talented Ohio students, it’s going to create more harm than good. Those people who are the first in their family to go to college might not have the chance. College will stop being the great land of opportunity.

State universities are no longer like the Statue of Liberty, an open door to any decent person. More and more, average students will not be so average and may find themselves settling for no education and lower-paying jobs.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the editorial board of the Daily Kent Stater.