Rhetorical Analysis Handout

Rhetorical Analysis: "The Growing College Gap" by Tamara Draut


• America has fallen on difficult financial times; often those who need aid the most do not receive it.
• It is more important than ever to pursue higher education in order to compete in the global job market. It is not enough in many fields to obtain a bachelors or masters degree.


• Using Statistics
o She begins by pointing out (with numbers) the increasing importance of higher education by citing the average income of people with varying levels of education, the more education the more money you'll make.
o She also cites statistics for the percentage of minorities in college (the freshman class was only 6% Blacks and Hispanics when there are 15% and 13% of them in their age group).
o Other key statistics include the price of individual tutoring and review books that help college entrance scores, and the numbers of college qualified students who go to community colleges or don't enroll at all. The numbers were 410,000 and 168,000 respectively.

• Reason for using statistics
o Provide the evidence needed to help support her opinions
o Establish her own credibility
o This strategy’s effect on readers is that it encourages them to believe and trust Draut, and to be more readily convinced/persuaded of her arguments.

• Identifying and Explaining Initiatives
o GI Bill: Widely used and sent millions to college on government money
o The Higher Education Act of 1965: “meant to ensure access to college for all” through grants and scholarships
o HOPE Scholarship and Lifetime Learning. She showed how the benefits of the tax credits went overwhelmingly to the middle and upper classes even though they had good intentions.

• Reason behind explaining the effects of government initiatives
o Provides legal support to her claims
o Establishes her credibility
o People can relate to them

• Differences in low and high-income students
o Low-income students are more likely not to further their education after high school than high-income students.
o Low income students go to community colleges and transfer to 4-yr colleges in order to save money; however, only a few do so and most of them decide to work at low-paying jobs after graduation.
o Even if low-income students attend 4-year colleges, they are much more likely to drop out than high-income students; students from low-income families complete degrees at a much lower rate than their wealthy counterparts.

• Reason for explaining differences between low and high-income students
o One of the main points of her argument: that a student’s background and home life are just as important to kids’ futures as their work in school is. A kid might have gotten into a good college, but if their home life isn’t encouraging, or that student has a good job they want to keep, then they might decide to stay at a community college with the intention of transferring.

• Present trend differences in financial aid
o Numerous landmark legislations such as the GI bill, the Pell Grants, and the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA) made colleges much more affordable for low-income students during 1970's; since then, however, grant aid have kept declining on a per student basis and loan aid outpaced grant aid. The HOPE Scholarship and Lifetime Learning tax credits proved ineffective for helping low-income students.
o Most importantly, financial aids these days are much more likely to be merit-based than need-based

• Reason for showing the differences between trends in financial aid –
o Emphasizes the fact that the students needs are not being met
o More kids need the financial aid than merit scholarships

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