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Public Universities Ramp Up Aid for the Wealthy, Leaving the Poor Behind

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By BCR Admin 1874 days ago
http://www.propublica.org/article/how-state-schools-ramp-up-aid-for-the-wealthy-leaving-the-poor-behind

Public Universities Ramp Up Aid for the Wealthy, Leaving the Poor Behind

Chasing prestige and battered by state funding cuts, many public colleges and universities with a historic responsibility to provide access to an affordable education have turned to “financial aid leveraging,” offering wealthy or high-scoring students discounts on tuition.  

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Shauniqua Epps was accepted to three public colleges, but none gave her any aid. Increasingly, public universities have been shifting their aid away from the poor, leaving students like Epps with few options. (Andrew Renneisen for ProPublica)

                            by Marian Wang ProPublica,  Sep. 11, 2013, 12 a.m.

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This story was co-published [1] with The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Shauniqua Epps was the sort of student that so many colleges say they want.

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She was a high achiever, graduating from high school with a 3.8 GPA and ranking among the top students in her class. She served as secretary, then president, of the student government. She played varsity basketball and softball. Her high-school guidance counselor, in a letter of recommendation, wrote that Epps was “an unusual young lady” with “both drive and determination.”

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Epps, 19, was also needy.

Her family lives in subsidized housing in South Philadelphia, and her father died when she was in third grade. Her mother is on Social Security disability, which provides the family $698 a month, records show. Neither of her parents finished high school.

Epps, who is African-American, made it her goal to be the first in her family to attend college.

“I did volunteering. I did internships. I did great in school. I was always good with people,” said Epps, who has a broad smile and a cheerful manner. “I thought everything was going to go my way.”

At first, it looked that way.

Epps was admitted to three colleges, all public institutions in Pennsylvania. She was awarded the maximum Pell grant, federal funds intended for needy students. She also qualified for the maximum state grant for needy Pennsylvania students.

None of the three schools Epps was admitted to gave her a single dollar of aid.

To attend her dream school, Lincoln University, Epps would have had to come up with about $4,000 per year, after maxing out on federal loans — close to half of what her mother receives from Social Security. It was money her family didn’t have, she said.

Public colleges and universities were generally founded and funded to give students in their states access to an affordable college education. They have long served as a vital pathway for students from modest means and those who are the first in their families to attend college.

But many public universities, faced with their own financial shortfalls, are increasingly leaving low-income students behind — including strivers like Epps.

It’s not just that colleges are continuously pushing up sticker prices. Public universities have also been shifting their aid, giving less to the poorest students and more to the wealthiest.

A ProPublica analysis of new data from the U.S. Department of Education shows that from 1996 through 2012, public colleges and universities gave a declining portion of grants — as measured by both the number of grants and the dollar amounts — to students in the lowest quartile of family income. That trend has continued even though the recession hit those in lower income brackets [6] the hardest.

The Decline in Grants to Low-Income Students

Portion of institutional grants given to students in the lowest and highest income quartiles.

 

34%

1996

16%

30%

2000

19%

29%

2004

19%

26%

2008

22%

25%

2012

23%

 Students in the lowest quartile of income  Students in the highest quartile of income Source: ProPublica analysis of data from the U.S. Department of Education National Postsecondary Student Aid Study

Attention has long been focused on the lack of economic diversity at private colleges, especially at the most elite schools. What has been little discussed, by contrast, is how public universities, which enroll far more students, have gradually shifted their priorities — and a growing portion of their aid dollars — away from low-income students.

State schools are typically considered to offer the most affordable, accessible four-year education students can get. When those schools raise tuition and don’t offer more aid, low-income students are often forced to decide not just which college to attend but whether they can afford to attend college at all.

“The most needy students are getting squeezed out,” said Charles Reed, a former chancellor of the California State University system and of the State University System of Florida. “Need-based aid is extremely important to these students and their parents.”

There’s no data on the number of needy but qualified students who are “squeezed out” and don’t make it onto four-year college campuses. But what is clear is that while the number of needy students has been growing, state schools have not kept up.

Over roughly two decades, four-year state schools have been educating a shrinking portion of the nation’s lowest-income students, according to an analysis [7] of Pell-grant data by Tom Mortenson, a senior scholar at the nonprofit Pell Institute. The task of educating low-income students has increasingly fallen to community colleges and for-profit schools.

Epps’ top choice, officially known as The Lincoln University, is about an hour’s drive from Philadelphia, and was one of the nation’s first historically black colleges. Founded in 1854 to serve African-Americans excluded from other colleges, the school became a public institution in the early 1970s [8], when the state legislature deemed its mission to be “completely compatible with the needs of the Commonwealth.”

All of the school’s own aid typically goes toward athletic or merit-based scholarships, regardless of students’ needs. In the 2009-10 budget, for instance, most of the roughly $3 million in institutional aid went to four specific “merit-based” scholarships — and the rest to athletics, international students, and study abroad, according to data supplied by Lincoln. The only need-based aid available to students is through separate donor-supported scholarships, some of which are earmarked for needy students, said university spokesman Eric Webb.

Aid given based on merit or other factors could still go to needy students, but that doesn’t appear to be happening much at Lincoln.

Data made available by the nonprofit Institute for College Access & Success show that 84 percent of the school’s grant dollars in the 2009-10 school year did not go to meeting students’ needs. (The data does not include athletic scholarships and certain other forms of aid.)

At Epps’ second choice, Millersville University of Pennsylvania, two-thirds of aid dollars in 2010-11 went to students who had no documented need for it, according to the latest data available. (East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania, the third school that accepted Epps, did not provide a breakdown of institutional grant aid.)

Why have public universities across the nation shifted their aid?

“For some schools, they’re trying to climb to the top of the rankings. For other schools, it’s more about revenue generation,” said Don Hossler, a professor of educational leadership and policy studies at Indiana University at Bloomington.

To achieve these goals, schools use their aid to draw wealthier students — especially those from out of state, who will pay more in tuition — or higher-achieving students, whose scores will give the colleges a boost in the rankings.

Private colleges have been using such tactics aggressively for some time. But in recent years, many public colleges have sought to catch up, doing what the industry calls “financial-aid leveraging [9].”

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.

Those discounts are often offered to prospective students as “merit aid.”

Despite its name, “merit aid isn’t always going to the very best students,” Hossler said. “It’s an intentional strategy to help offset the loss of state support.”

Hossler knows this world firsthand. For years, he carried out such strategies as vice chancellor for enrollment services at Indiana University.

“One of my charges was to go after what I would call pretty good out-of-state students,” he said. “Not valedictorians, not the top of the class. Students who you didn’t have to give thousands and thousands of dollars to in order to get them to enroll.”

Indiana University is not alone in thinking about financial aid this way. Consultants who work with schools on financial-aid strategies said they’ve seen an uptick in interest from public universities in recent years, with many focused on generating more revenue.

“When public [universities] come to us individually now, they won’t admit it, but they’re all looking for the same thing — smart students who can pay,” said an industry consultant who asked not to be named.

Another industry consultant, Mary Piccioli of Scannell & Kurz, said many of her firm’s public-school clients are looking to use financial aid “to positively impact the bottom line.”

College officials often argue that attracting students with more resources means they’ll have more aid to redistribute to those in need.

“There’s certainly some truth to that,” said Donald Heller, dean of Michigan State University’s College of Education, who has researched institutional-aid patterns extensively. “But I don’t think that’s really the motivating behavior for many institutions. The more dominant motivating behavior is interest in high-achieving students, which will help them with institutional prestige.”

Epps, apparently, didn’t generate that sort of interest.

She was in her high school’s computer lab, checking her email, when she saw the message from Lincoln University laying out her financial aid package: a mix of state and federal money but nothing from Lincoln.

“Once I saw it, I knew it wasn’t the amount that I needed,” Epps said. “Right away I knew it.”

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Shauniqua Epps laughs with one of her counselors, Christina Santos of Philadelphia Futures. Epps attributes a lot of her success to the program, which helps low-income students get into and finish college. (Andrew Renneisen for ProPublica)

Epps had been getting guidance from Philadelphia Futures, an organization that helps low-income high-school students get into and complete college. When she went through the cost calculations with a coordinator there, it became clear: The money simply didn't add up.

At first, Epps said, she blamed herself for not qualifying for aid. She felt like a failure.

“I was kind of upset because I felt as though I worked so hard,” she said. “I kept thinking how I’m not a good test taker.”

Epps had scored a combined SAT score of 820 on math and critical reading. In fact, that’s solidly in the middle of Lincoln’s score distributions for many years, according to data reported to the U.S. Department of Education.

But what Epps didn’t know is that the school had committed to “continuously improving its SAT and GPA averages for incoming cohorts” — as language found in a strategic planning document [10] put it. She also didn’t know that the school had been spending the majority of its financial aid on students who would help bring up those averages — regardless of whether they needed the money.

“To attract top students to your institution, you have to be able to offer them a competitive scholarship package,” said Lincoln University President Robert Jennings. “That’s usually a full-tuition scholarship, that’s a private room sometimes or laptop computer, or a whole bunch of other perks. That’s what schools do. All schools do it.”

Rather than giving small discounts to many students, as many colleges do, Lincoln focuses on giving free rides to top scorers – as a Lincoln admissions flyer [11] lays out.

The strategy seems to have worked. Lincoln University has raised its scores in recent years. In 2002, half of Lincoln’s incoming freshmen scored between a 360 and 460 on the math section of the SAT. In 2012, half of students scored between 410 and 490.

The boost in scores has been no accident, according to Jennings. He said it was a mandate from the Board of Trustees.

“They wanted to increase the SAT averages of students coming to Lincoln,” Jennings said.

And what about students who may have once been a natural fit but aren’t hitting the higher scores? The school still wants to serve some of them — “because of our historical mission,” explained Jennings. But Lincoln has also increasingly been “trying to steer that lower tier of students — students who need much more help — into community colleges,” he said.

Jennings doesn’t see this as a departure from the school’s mission to provide public access. “Absolutely not,” he said. “That’s why you have community colleges. They, too, are public institutions, and we have built collaborative relationships with them.” He added that the school recently launched a campaign to raise more money for scholarships, some of which will go to providing more need-based aid.

Like Lincoln, both Millersville University and East Stroudsburg University — the two other colleges that accepted Epps — have created strategic planning documents that include language reflecting a desire to move up academically.

In a 2010-15 strategic planning document, East Stroudsburg University outlined [12] the goals of becoming “more selective in each new year” as well as fostering “strategic alignment of financial aid” to better attract top students.

“High-achieving and access are not mutually exclusive,” said spokeswoman Brenda Friday. “As such, we look for and recruit students who present both. We also recruit these groups separately. There are funding possibilities available for both groups of students.”

East Stroudsburg and other regional public colleges are in a tough spot. Many don’t have very much aid to give, and most serve a higher percentage of needy students than more prestigious public flagship universities, which have more money from endowments, research and fundraising. It’s a common phenomenon in higher education – students with less money relegated to institutions with less money.

In Pennsylvania, as in most states, public higher education has faced steep cuts, especially since the most recent recession. Over the last five years, the state has cut funds [13] for higher education by 18 percent. At public institutions, that’s worked out to about $2,000 less in state and local support per student — a 32 percentage-point drop [14], according to data from the State Higher Education Executive Officers.

“All the arrows point in a direction that shows what we are out doing now is raising revenue. The old business model has sort of broken down,” said Patrick Callan, president of the Higher Education Policy Institute and formerly the head of state higher-education boards and commissions in Montana, Washington and California.

“There have probably been no winners from all of this,” Callan said. “But the biggest losers were those who were disadvantaged on the front end.”

In high school, Epps went by the nickname “Neeks” with most of her friends. They were a mixed group. Some, like her, fostered hopes of attending college. Others just wanted to finish school and get a job.

Though she loved high school, Epps said that looking back she realizes that despite her own efforts, she didn’t get the best education.

About a third [15] of the students at her high school didn’t graduate. After she left, the school was among roughly two dozen shuttered [16] by the chronically underfunded School District of Philadelphia.

“On a couple of levels, systems are failing these students,” said Ann-Therese Ortiz, who worked with Epps as director of pre-college programs at Philadelphia Futures. Low-income high-school students could put in the same effort as their better-resourced counterparts, but “even with the same effort, it simply doesn’t yield the same fruit. And then there’s limited access to the same opportunities, because they’re not receiving the same educational foundation that really opens those doors.”

Those disadvantages can also show up in test scores. A substantial body of research shows that SAT scores are strongly correlated [17] with family income.

“How do you separate merit from privilege?” asked Jerome Lucido, a professor and executive director of the University of Southern California’s Center for Enrollment Research, Policy, and Practice. “Merit needs to be tied to mission, not just who got a higher test score. We already know that has a direct correlation with family income.”

But the SAT and other tests are still crucial to how publications such as U.S. News & World Report and Barron’s formulate college rankings, which are widely regarded as measures of prestige.

Not surprisingly, colleges are constantly working to move up the lists. A prospective student flipping through Barron’s 1995 college-rankings guide would have found about 90 public institutions in the top three tiers of competitiveness and more than 170 in the less competitive or non-competitive tiers. In the 2013 guide, that top tier has grown by more than 40 colleges — about 46 percent — and the bottom tier has shrunk by 60.

“The whole system is constantly moving up, going upstream to get better and better students, and get students who can pay,” said Anthony Carnevale, director of Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce. “It all looks great for the press release. But you’re systematically leaving people behind.”

Carnevale, who has authored many studies analyzing this shift, likens the state of higher education to “hospitals for healthy people,” competing for the easiest to treat, most lucrative patients, rather than taking on the cases of those who stand to benefit the most. “The question is, are you trying to reach down or not?”

Schools might argue they are — in a way.

Many state schools have in recent years struck what are called “articulation agreements” — partnerships with community colleges that make it easier for community-college students to transfer to a four-year school. In the last two years, Lincoln University has established such agreements with 11 community colleges.

But even with improved transfer pathways, there’s still an inherent risk for students like Epps who “undermatch,” or don’t attend the most selective school they can get into. Low-income, minority and first-generation students frequently undermatch, research shows [18], and in doing so, they often end up at institutions with less support and far lower graduation rates.

Without any aid from Lincoln or the other colleges that accepted her, Epps weighed her options and chose a different route. She recently completed her first year at the Community College of Philadelphia — a school where about half [19] of full-time freshmen don’t return for a second year.

“In a way, four-year colleges are asking two-year colleges to do the dirty work of selecting who’s worthy of a four-year college,” the Pell Institute’s Tom Mortenson said. In doing so, four-year colleges are not “taking on the responsibility from the beginning when they’re freshmen and making a real commitment to these students.”

But colleges — even those with an explicit public mission — have mounting incentives to avoid students like Epps. Carnevale points to the dawning of what’s known as the “accountability movement” — an effort by states to reform higher education by tying funding for public colleges to student outcomes and graduation rates. Last month, President Barack Obama announced that the federal government would also be moving in a similar direction [20] — and hopes to eventually tie federal aid to certain performance measures.

Unless policymakers build in some incentives to take on more students at the margins, the accountability movement could drive schools further away from low-income and minority populations, which have lower graduation rates overall, Carnevale said. “The whole logic of this industry — and the reform of it as well — excludes low-income and minority students.”

While colleges strive to enroll wealthier and better-performing students, the demographics of the nation’s high-school graduates are moving in a different direction: As a group, tomorrow’s high-school graduates will be more racially diverse and more low-income than today’s.

“There is a significant misalignment. And I think the misalignment’s going to continue to grow,” said David Tandberg, an assistant professor of higher education at Florida State University who previously worked in the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

“The public really, really benefits from a first-generation student going to college. All sorts of wonderful outcomes come from that,” Tandberg said.

A more educated workforce has widespread benefits: It leads to more earning power for those who graduate, a stronger tax base for the state, and greater potential for economic growth in the future.

Public universities have the task of “balancing institutional striving with the public’s needs,” Tandberg said, which “are often two very different things.”

Epps still remembers going out and buying a new button-down shirt, slacks and dress shoes the night before her high-school graduation. She remembers the nervousness she felt the next morning, and the tinge of sadness.

“I was going to miss my friends. We had been together for four years, and we were all going in different directions,” she said. “I didn’t know how life was going to turn out.”

At graduation, in her white cap and gown, she was the mistress of ceremonies, introducing each of the speakers and making sure the ceremony flowed. She read out the theme of the year’s graduation, a rephrasing of a Thoreau quote: “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.”

She’s certainly trying. Community college started up again last week. Epps has already signed up for a full schedule of six classes.

A year from now, she hopes to transfer, finally, to a four-year state school and eventually to get a bachelor’s degree. She’s thinking she might want to study accounting.

Jonathan Lin contributed research to this article.

  

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34 comments

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Chris Newfield

Sep. 11, 8:29 a.m.

many thanks for a great piece on the huge issue of the difficulty public colleges are having fulfilling the mission society actually wants them to. You do an excellent job identifying the trap these colleges have helped create for themselves. I don’t see any solution other than funding them properly with public money so they can focus on education rather than competing to scramble up a status ladder they can’t climb anyway.  I hope you keep working on this issue.

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You know, it occurs to me that the debates around issues like these (“who deserves to be helped through college,” basically) might be because we don’t have a real mission statement from educational institutions.  For example, given a choice between a student who coasted through high school but graduated at the top of her class and a kid who worked hard to get a C because he had to work after school and didn’t grow up with a supportive family, who has more of a “right” to college?  That’s especially important in cases like what’s described here at public colleges.

The former student will probably make the school’s numbers look good and presumably “earned” the right (with little to no work), but the latter would get more of a benefit.

I’m not advocating one or the other, but until the people give some thought to an answer, these subsidiary questions of where to best assign the grants and loans just go in circles.

If I can make a recommendation to kids looking at colleges, though, it’d be to not overlook the opportunities in front of you.

Wall Street, academic research, and a few other industries may be obsessed with status, but I can’t think of a single job worth the cover letter where you’d have a better chance with an Ivy League degree than a portfolio of work.

So, if you want to be a writer, write, and remember that blogs are free and dealing with comments is a simple form of peer review.  If you want to be an animator, learn free software like Tupi, Pencil, and Blender.  If you want to study river ecology, build something like the OpenROV rover and start studying.

We live in a world where the plans to the kind of equipment that used to cost colleges thousands of dollars can be built at home for hundreds with free plans, and you can network easily with people who share your interests.  We also live in a world where you can find a high-quality, college-level course on nearly any topic for free online.

I’ve already seen this in software (my field), where I have friends and former students who have been rejected for jobs basically because they hadn’t worked on any Open Source projects.  After all, if the job has you working in a large group, the best way to judge that is work you’ve done with a large group that the public can view.

There’s an old idea of taking a “lifestyle job,” a low-stress position that pays just enough to fund whatever you want to do at night and on weekends.  I don’t recommend that, but I can definitely see a role for a “lifestyle education,” the cheapest degree you can find to get you past the HR people so that you can show an interviewer your real-world projects.

I suspect we’re seeing the beginning of the end of colleges as businesses, honestly.  A few have folded or sold themselves off already, and quite a few aren’t going to be able to pay off loans (to build new facilities and hire new executives) in the next five to ten years.  While that erosion is going on, you’ll also have the attack of free education at the other end.  It’s hard to “compete with free,” and the last century of “economics by leverage” that everybody still relies on doesn’t really work, anymore..

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Excellent post, John. You’ve sent me off to explore many things.

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the major problem with the public educational system is that schools are profit centers. Their primary goal is to make money, not educate and serve the needs to society.  Until that changes, these problems will not only exist, but continue to create more and more disparity in society as a whole.  We’ve all seen where that leads to in the long run in other countries and throughout history.

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Is it just me, or is there something wrong in River City? I went to college-initially-in the 1970s, when the cost of an education, based on today’s dollars, was virtually nothing. I didn’t need financial aid because my parents, while not being rich by any means, were comfortable. Many of the students profiled do not even fit into that ‘comfortable’ category. In California, the cost of a UC education has jumped into the mid-$20K per year.  My fellow students of the 1970s were paying barely $1K per year. Only one student I knew even needed financial aid from the school through its variety of programs. The wealthy are using the system to their benefit, nothing new, eh?

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We are doing this at the University of California, where our state funding has shrunk significantly.  Now we aggressively court international students, leaving many qualified California resident students out.

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Russell Miller

Sep. 11, 2:49 p.m.

Many sad things are happening in the country and big money just has too much influence at every level.  Look at college athletics and the conference shuffle. Surely many problems exists, but….

I was financially emancipated in high school and worked for two years before college saving money and during college at a drive up liquor store till 2am to pay for college.  Let’s work on fixing the system, in the meantime get a job and work your way through even if it takes five years. Put that on your resume!

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Bruce J Fernandes

Sep. 11, 2:50 p.m.

I wonder if there is any sense at all about simply accepting life’s limitations and make do with what is available to you.  When my grandmother died any opportunity I had in the 1970s to go to an Ivy League school died with her.  I showed some prowess at a fairly young age in the investment arena and my grandma knew I would need a pedigree in order to advance in any major investment bank.

Instead, I attended local junior college and then got a scholarship to a prestigious business school and became a CPA.  I worked for a Big 8 firm but hated it and worked in a regional firm before starting my own practice.  I invest my money for me and long ago gave up those dreams of working for a big investment banking firm because without the pedigree you don’t advance to the heights you might wish to advance to…...

My life has been full and I get the joy of managing my own money and none of the headaches and pressures of managing other people’s money.

Moral of the story is you can make a great life for yourself without having to go to the elite schools and these days running up significant six figure debts just to attend college.  I came out of college without one dime of debt.  That was the glory days in California where you attended junior college at zero tuition paying for books and student ID card only.

I say get over this nonsense of entitlement and play the hand you are dealt…. so you can’t go to the University system because of cost… go to a state school…. go to junior college for two years at even lower cost.  Work your way through school…. I worked at Toys R Us and talk about how hard it was to work til 2AM during Xmas season and then get up at 5AM to get into a gas line because gas was rationed in my day.

You don’t need to focus on debt to get through school.  You may need debt but choose a school and a realistic career goal that matches any debt forced upon you with expectations of what you can actually earn and while it will be difficult you will see light at the end of the tunnel after a few years of sacrifice….. yes sacrifice.  Let’s stop the sense of entitlement to large amounts of loans to attend schools and obtain degrees that make no sense in terms of career reality versus cost to train for said career opportunity.

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I’m Swedish, so I don’t have the full US context but I’m interested in education policy and how it links to social mobility and from what I have seen in Sweden we have these problems even though our public universities are entirely subsidized. In fact, despite the lack of tuition fees, we have less diversity than many U.S. colleges. (namely Berkeley, UCLA, and several big Ivies) Of course, this may just reflect that Sweden is a less diverse country but we see minority groups falling behind faster than ever. The Swedish government offers attractive loans with 2% interest to students to pay for food and housing so I would say that this inequity is not solely, and perhaps only marginally, financial. Rather, there are great socio-economic differences between geographical areas (I understand this is true in the U.S. as well) and this becomes very important as students in most cases are allocated their public primary and secondary education based on area of residence. More endowed families will have more leverage in making sure that their children get a good education and schools in privileged areas will also be able to attract better teachers through more attractive salaries etc. It comes down to money again I suppose, but my point is that it’s not all about the tuition.

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Today’s students seeking anything other than lab sciences can get most of their education from free sites.  What we need now is a way for students to “test out” of those courses they managed to learn online.

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What I want to know is how wealthy do you need to be to get aid?  I’m not talking about grants but student loans.  My daughter and her husband make around $95,000 a year “gross”.  That hasn’t always been the story.  They ran into a really rough time 10 years ago and struggled for several years.  While applying for schools for their oldest they were told they made too much money to qualify for even a student “loan”.  Why is that?  Making $95,000 before taxes, health premiums and other withholding, then regular living expenses including house payments, car payment etc and still having 2 other children at home really doesn’t leave much.  Why aren’t regular student loans available to these kids?

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The article says that Ms. Epps needs $4000 to attend school

$4000 is 12 weeks at the minimum wage during the summer.

What is the big deal here.  $4000 per year out of pocket is CHEAP!

She should get a summer job and ATTEND COLLEGE!

College is not free, it has a cost, and students need to do their fair share if their parents cannot contribute for whatever reason.

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Jacob Freeze

Sep. 11, 8:06 p.m.

So how much of a grant did Shauniqua expect from her first choice, Lincoln University?

“All of the school’s own aid typically goes toward athletic or merit-based scholarships, regardless of students’ needs.”

This is a kid with a 3.8 GPA but combined SATs of 820! Ouch! That’s about the 20th percentile!

So is college her only hope for a decent future? Aren’t there good-paying union jobs for kids like Shauniqua?

Of course not!

“If American workers are being denied their right to organize and collectively bargain when I’m in the White House, I’ll put on a put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself. I’ll walk on that picket line with you as president of the United States,” said Candidate Obama!

But it was all a lie.

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Thanks anon2; you beat me to it; $400/month working as we did back in the day part time (10 hours a week) during the school year would add another $300 a month - $3000 during the shool year….and being resident assisdtant may cover both housing and food for subsequent years.  She seems like a go-getter and I’m confident she can make it happen.

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Andrew Wyatt

Sep. 11, 8:36 p.m.

If anyone’s wondering where the money has gone, look to the financial sector.  Our government is going through a period of overwhelming influence from it now, and programs are adjusted to meet the banks hungry demands for profit. People aren’t worried about the “deficit”(or the money owed by the federal governments of the world to the global banking system), banks are.  So, social programs are squeezed to protect bank profit.  Look at it simply for what it in fact is. The banks need to be more regulated, not less.

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