We all know college is expensive. Essentially, there’s no easy way around beating the cost of attending a good college. Many parents save up for years, some money to put aside and help pay the way for their children to attend college. For others, their only hope of attending a University is through scholarship, federal aid, or financial grants. Many students, will even take out student loans, and work many jobs to support themselves through college, only to pay them off at a later time. However, scholarships are not scare resources. Many organizations and universities grant many students scholarship and financial aid money, each year.
At the same time, we must consider, who, is eligible for these scholarships and grants? While many top-tier universities grant thousands of dollars in scholarship to students each year, one must consider how worthy or in need of such scholarships and financial aid are these students receiving the money?
According to the College Board, many universities are giving $5.3 billion dollars in financial aid this year. However, many of those students who are on the receiving end of the financial aid, do not actually need the grants. As shocking as this may seem, there is an apparent strategy behind this. Many colleges and universities use their grant money to aid and lure in high-achieving students and applicants. They also look for those students who come from high-income families, that they know will be able to pay off the rest of their schools costly tuition. As USA Today reported, “Elite universities such as Harvard, Yale and Stanford now give aid to families earning as much as $200,000, which less-selective schools say puts pressure on them to also offer grants to higher-income families. Education experts say such subsidies mean less help for lower- and middle-income students, who are falling deeper into debt to pay tuition.” While we once debated both sides to affirmative action and who should be admitted to a college and university, its principles of equality, race, and gender, we now have to worry about class. Class is important here, because it allows us to understand who is worthy and should or should not be allowed to get a scholarship or financial aid, based on their average household income.
This public issue relates directly to class, as the nearly $5.3 billion dollars given away this year with financial aid has mainly gone to providing the upper class with resources they do not need. They are taking away opportunity, money, and potential for success, from traditionally well-deserving of financial aid, low-income families. The concept of financial aid and grant money, is so that it can go to helping those students in need. Students in need would most likely be the students who academically have the potential to attend college, but do not have the financial resources to attend. However, many of the students receiving the parts of this $5.3 billion-dollar financial aid are those students whose parents are earning average household incomes of $100,000 – $180,000.
Even more disappointing is the fact that the quantity of financial aid awarded to low-income students, has been steadily declining over the past 10 years. Roughly two-thirds of students now borrow to pay for college. Regardless of class, this helps us infer that many students will need to take out loans to help pay through college. However, some will have heftier loans to pay off than others. Scholarships and grants can help those who cannot help themselves, and should be given to those students who have the academic potential for success, just scarce financial resources.
So I ask you, is this how things should be? Should most of the financial aid and money be for wealthy upper-class students, in order to lure and attract them to a particular school, knowing that with a little help, they could pay for the rest of the tuition bill? Or, should the scholarships and grant money go to the lower-income families, where students might have to take out student loans in order to fully support themselves through college? Is this system unjust or skewed in the slightest? What can be done about this issue of concern?