Do Public Colleges Favor Wealthy Kids?

Forget that children from wealthier families and school systems have access to more resources. Forget that they have more opportunities.

Now it also seems that they have more access to financial aid.

Less Funding for Poorer Students

You’d think that merit-based financial aid would help level the playing field. But over nearly two decades, students in the lowest quartile of family income have steadily received a smaller portion of institutional grant money. Conversely, students in the highest quartile have increasingly received more.

Chart_College_Grants HuffPost 13SeptCharles Reed, former university chancellor says, “The most needy students are getting squeezed out.”

In a tight economy, public universities do this for financial reasons.

“The math can work like this: Instead of offering, say, $12,000 to an especially needy student, a school might choose to leverage its aid by giving $3,000 discounts to four students with less need, each of whom scored high on the SAT, who together will bring in more tuition dollars than the needier student.”

The rich (students and universities) get richer, while the poor are just ignored.

I’m not saying that schools are necessarily wrong for doing this. They are receiving less funding from the state, and they’re just trying to stay in business. But I am saying it’s wrong that our system is encouraging these types of decisions.

Less Attention for Poorer Students

And in a related note, many college recruiters take fewer visits to low-income public schools, compared to wealthy school districts and private schools. “Many talented students are not given a chance or not introduced to the vast landscape of higher education opportunities,” which locks many students “in to a circle of colleagues and schools, and it doesn’t necessarily give [them] great opportunities to discover completely new schools.”

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