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Kent State University: Giving Back to Students in Design

Sunday, January 31, 2016 HALFSTACK MAGAZINE

The cost of pursuing higher educations has become increasingly unattainable for many young people hoping to do more with their life. The list-price tuition at U.S. colleges and universities has risen by roughly 7% per year since the early 1980s. The inflation rate has averaged just 3.2%. This is a scary proposition for those who have to pick between paying living expenses and paying educational expenses. Young people shouldn’t have to choose to eat or have a home over getting a solid education.

According to, “Two features of the economic landscape have had a big effect on affordability. The first is a sea change in budget priorities in the states. In 1975, states allocated roughly $10.50 to higher education for every $1,000 of per capita state income. Today the figure is around $6.00, despite a massive increase in the number of students seeking postsecondary education. This type of budgeting has resulted in tuition increases at public universities, which have negatively impacted the availability and quality of their academic programs [. . . ] Over the same span of years, the income distribution in the United States has changed dramatically. This is another major force for creating affordability problems in higher education. In the 1960s, an average person with a high school diploma could live a comfortable, middle-income lifestyle. That statement no longer holds true.”

The reality is that as the middle class slowly begins to disappear, opportunities begin to disappear as well. Although, this situation seems dismal, many schools and students are taking the future into their own hands. Top schools, who see the benefit of giving back, are working hard to implement programs that are meant to help potential promising students with the overall costs of their education. It’s the professors and select administrators who believe that young people should have access to higher education no matter their socioeconomic status that are pushing through these hardships to give students a chance.

Young Kim, The Director of Kent State University’s NYC Studio, is one of those educators and innovators who believe that giving back and offering students an opportunity to pursue their dreams is important. Why? Because she was once in their shoes. As a poor student during her college days she took 18 plus hours every semester and had three part time jobs, working 50 hours per week to make it work. She has a deep understanding of the disparity young people face when choosing to pursue an education despite monetary hardships they may face. This year marks her 20th anniversary in America. To celebrate and bring awareness to the life changing experiences the NYC studio offers Kent students, Young founded the NYC Studio Director’s Scholarship Fund. She took some time out of her busy schedule to talk with us about her career, the fashion program at Kent and more about the new scholarship fund. 

Keep reading for the full interview in the winter issue of Halfstack Magazine HERE.

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