Students in Higher Education

Today’s composition of the American higher education consists of a great diversity of students varying in gender, race and nationality. Women in higher education even possess their own support system entitled Women in Higher Education. This organization focuses on enlightening, encouraging and empowering women to seek higher education and careers within fields of higher education (Women in Higher Education, 2010). In 2006, women comprised 57 percent of all undergraduate students and 60 percent of all graduate students (Cohen & Kisker, 2010, p 465).students in higher education

These same ratios of attendance in women transferred into the percentages of minorities in education as well. These attendance rates began to reflect the nature of the larger society. As the number of minorities increased in the population, they also increased in higher education. “The percentage of American college students who are minorities has been increasing. In 1976, 15 percent were minorities, compared with 32 percent in 2007” (National Center for Education Statistics, 2010, p 1). This changes began to emerge during the creation of our country as “people from more varied backgrounds began attending” (Cohen & Kisker, 2010, p 71).

Some of these reasons still exist today. They are used not simply for housing accommodations but also social networking, leadership opportunities and to provide a sense of community for students (Lynn, 2008).

Another issue facing students is financing. For the 2010 -2011 school year, Harvard published tuition expenses as $34,976. The President Emeritus Lawrence H. Summers advices potential students of possible financial initiatives to assist students (Harvard, 2010). This tuition is astronomically higher than the $55 yearly fees of 1790. Yet in this time, Harvard began its determination to help all students have access to higher education through provisions to cover their financial obligations (Cohen & Kisker, 2010). These efforts made higher education available to a more diverse population both then and now.

Discipline has continued to be a focal point in higher education. Many universities are facing unusual behaviors not previously encountered at this level. The most grievous is documented as murder, but generally they are “characterized as rebellious or emotional in nature. Rebellious disruptive behaviors seem to be intentional, defiant, annoying, and disrespectful. … College instructors often experience, on a daily basis, students who are chronically late, who talk to friends during class, who eat or sleep in class, and who engage in arguments with instructors or other students. … Instructors, using only the authority of their position, are no longer able to maintain decorum in their classrooms or a sense of personal safety” (Hernandez & Fister, 2001, p 1).


Cohen, A. & Kisker, C. (2010). The shaping of American higher education: Emergence and growth of the contemporary system. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Harvard. (2010). Cost of attendance 2010 -2011. Retrieved from   

Hernandez, T. & Fister, D. (2001). Dealing with disruptive and emotional college students: a systems model. Retrieved  from

Lynn, K. (2008). Should I join a fraternity or sorority? Retrieved from   

National Center for Educational Statistics. (2010). College enrollment. Retrieved from

Women in Higher Education. (2010). Women in higher education. Retrieved from

Tracy Harrington-Atkinson

Tracy Harrington-Atkinson, mother of six, lives in the mid-west with her husband. She loved storytelling and sharing her stories with her children. As they grew, she started writing her stories down for them. She is a teacher, having taught from elementary school to higher education, holding degrees in elementary education, masters in higher education and continued on to a PhD in curriculum design. Her husband, Kerry and Tracy breed miniature dachshunds and love to spend time with their growing family. She has published several books including Calais: The Annals of the Hidden, Rachel's 8 and Securing Your Tent.

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