June 14, 2015
Is Financial Aid Distributed Fairly to Every Social Class?
In a society where a college education is necessary to attain a job, people will pay any price to get a degree. Since 1965 government assistance programs such as FAFSA have made attending college much more simple for the working class. However, such programs focus much of their efforts on assisting lower income students and fail to contribute to students from middle class families. Middle class students or their parents are caught in a situation in which they must pay for all of their college funds, or they are put into debt from the outrageous amount of loans. Financial aid is based off of the parent’s income until the age of 25, but there are situations in which not parents are able or willing to pay for their child’s education due to the high cost of tuition. Complications of financial aid arise due to the lack of focus in financial assistance for students who come from middle class families. Due to the complications of the financial aid system students from the middle class are forced to choose cheaper schools, go into debt, or enter the work force, yet prices of getting an education are only getting higher. For middle class families options to pay for school are very limited, without financial aid or the funds to pay, a life of debt and worry surely waits.
Due to the high price of college, over the years several programs have been established in order to assist students to pay for college. Several forms of financial aid include private scholarships and state grants. Each type of financial aid has a set of guidelines to determine who qualifies for the program. The main qualification for all forms of financial assistance is financial need. In the book Higher Education: Access Issues and Financial Aid Avenues, author Jaclyn Morelli explains, “Financial need is based off of several factors such as the cost of attendance at the school of choice, they then consider your Expected Family Contribution, then subtract your EFC from your COA to determine the amount of your financial need and therefore how much need-based aid you can get.” (2) The system in place used to determine a student’s eligibility for financial aid is one which is specifically difficult for middle class students who are under the age of 25 and do not live at home. Although these students are financially independent, in the eyes of the government they are still dependent on their parents. The government determines whether the student is dependent or independent based on several factors such as, whether the student is married, have dependents other than a spouse, are an orphan, or active duty member of the US Armed Forces .The set of criteria which were established in 1965 and modified over the many decades fail to have been adjusted for a more modern time. Such as for situations in which a student does not live with their parent for any reason, but is still financially responsible for themselves. Students who do not qualify for financial aid to pay for a higher education are forced to attend lower priced schools.
For students of middle class families an Ivy League education has become less of an option, they are being forced to attend community colleges, trade schools and if they decide to attend a top school they pay the price in loans and debt. Although there are some schools, which have taken an initiative to make attending their schools easier, it is still too expensive for anyone who does not qualify for financial aid. Universities are attempting to adjust the guidelines to make it easier to pay for tuition. According to author Adrian Flores in his article New Financial-Aid Rules Offer Middle-Class Relief: Schools such as Harvard have taken initiative in three major aspects; first the amount families must earn annually in order to lessen the amount the student must pay for school. The second component, all loans would be replaced...
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