Q&A with Robert Croft, member of the Committee for Equal Opportunities
August 01, 2019
What personal goal or story influenced your decision to be on the Council's Committee for Equal Opportunities?
The fact is I didn't get into or make it through college and law school without a lot of help. First and foremost, my parents influenced me. They were relentless in their demands that their children go to college, and they worked extremely hard to help me afford school. There were many teachers and professors who saw something in me that I might not have always seen in myself. Also, I had several mentors who helped guide me and navigate an environment that was foreign to me. I owe it to the people who helped me to help others and being part of this committee helps me live up to that responsibility.
As someone outside the CPE loop, what were some of your thoughts about higher education before becoming part of this committee? If your perspective has changed since joining the committee, describe that change.
My top concern was and is that higher education be accessible to those who do not come from means. Disadvantaged people must have the access they rightfully deserve. The CPE is truly dedicated to closing the accessibility gap, and the hard work, time and resources it is expending is helping and greatly needed.
What are some of the challenges you see in your home community regarding higher education?
The ability to afford higher education and the mounting debt associated with attending higher education, without any assurance there will be a job that pays enough to pay off that debt, is a top concern.
Part of making higher education more diverse is changing the college-going culture of Kentucky. What are some of the challenges or successes you have seen in achieving this?
To me, affordability is the primary challenge. The staggering price tag and debt that can be associated with getting a higher education excludes people. That should not be the case and it must be addressed. I have learned through my involvement with the CPE that community college is an excellent way to minimize that debt. Some of the best schools with the best outcomes for their students are community colleges. Students can go there for a couple of years and then transfer out to a university if they wish to continue their studies, which saves a lot of money and helps prepare the students for success. I think we need to continue to dispel any sort of negative stigma associated with community college.
The Council's educational attainment goal looks toward the year 2030. How do you envision higher education changing by then?
My sincere hope is that by 2030 most states will have realized that education helps us address many problems in our society, including the poverty gap and racial inequality. I hope this recognition will lead to increased state subsidies for in-state students to attend college. I believe such a development will lead to higher numbers of minority and other underprivileged students attending school.
Lastly, as someone outside the CPE, what word would you use to describe the CPE?
Last Updated: 7/23/2021