Community college needs to be more accessible option at Lincoln


We believe that community college, trade school and other alternative post high school education need to be a more accessible and acceptable option at Lincoln.

Lincoln has an academically rigorous curriculum with most upperclassmen students taking IB classes. Juniors and seniors must take IB English classes.This focus on academic rigor drives students towards post secondary elitism.

Lincoln junior Iris Weaverbell is a full IB student and felt the pressure to take the full IB diploma because of academic pressures. 

“I wanted to develop academic passions and get into a good school,” said Weaverbell.

Students at Lincoln are often led to believe the narrative that the only option after high school is a competitive four year college. This greatly narrows the scope of what students consider to be viable options.  

Despite sufficient options for students, attendance of “alternative” programs is going down state-wide. According to an article in the Oregonian, “Oregon’s community colleges had 85,000 students enrolled for the fall term, according to state data. That’s down 3.6% from 2021.” 

The benefits of community colleges are plentiful. The tuition is cheaper than most four year colleges and certain scholarships and grants specifically available to community colleges can help offset the cost further. State tuition at University of Oregon averages around $14,421, Portland State University averages around $10,386 and Portland Community College averages around $4,810. For even more financial help, the Oregon Promise grant, can cover half or all tuition fees for community college students and applies to every Oregon state high school graduate or GED test graduates.  

Aliera Zeledon-Morasch, Lincoln’s college counselor and coordinator, said it is important to her to provide students with a full spectrum of their post high school options. 

“A lot of the time students aren’t thinking about community college as an option. There’s more of a culture at Lincoln that the four year college is the only option that leads to success. I think that four year college is a really great option. It’s not the only one,” said Zeledon-Morasch. 

Other options Zeledon-Marasch highlights are trade school, the military, a gap year, or going straight into work or certificate programs.

“It’s important to me that students feel like they have access to all of those options,” said Zeledon-Morasch. 

Our message is this: if you are not sure of what you want to focus on, but are interested in attending a four year college, you can utilize  community college as a pathway in order to save money. If you are ready to work, trade school is an excellent option. Trade schools provide a faster schooling process as well as a trajectory straight into a job. 

For more information about alternatives to four year university, there are resources located on the Lincoln High School website under the college center tab. You can also schedule a meeting with Zeledon-Morasch in the college and career center. 

“I think we try in here to really normalize talking about all of the options on the same scale because one is not any better than the other,” said Zeledon-Morasch.