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College access important

After generations of American teens were told that college is the only acceptable thing to do after high school, the effects on our nation are easy to see. There is a lack of tradespeople, student debt is crushing and many college graduates have found their fields so saturated that they have been unable to find a job where they can use their degree.

Even the ACCESS College Foundation, at its Suffolk donor luncheon on Tuesday, acknowledged that not every student will go to college.

Indeed, learning a trade, signing up to serve one’s country in the military and entering the workforce directly after high school are all honorable choices.

However, ACCESS College Foundation wants to make the college choice affordable and accessible for those students who desire to go to college but may have thought it was out of reach for them without the assistance of the foundation.

The reasons a student may think college isn’t a possibility for them are myriad, and one of the biggest ones is the cost of college. A higher education is getting more and more expensive, and the impacts of heavy student loan debt are well-known these days. But there are many ways to make college more affordable, and ACCESS advisers in local public schools are able to help students apply for scholarships and grants, fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid and more.

Other students may have a low level of support or knowledge at home due to being the first student in their family to go to college or having suffered a tragedy like the loss of their parents. In those cases, ACCESS advisers can also help by keeping students on top of deadlines and guiding them through the process with ease.

So while high school graduates of the current generation should be taught that college is not the only option, we’re glad that ACCESS is there to make it an option if they want it to be.

We applaud the good work ACCESS is doing, with the help of its many donors in Suffolk and elsewhere, to help students discover their post-high school path.