Financial Aid - Merit Based Aid Overtaking Pure Need Based Support
Financial aid is probably one of the best things that could happen to students who cannot afford to attend the college simply because they do not have the financial means to do so. However, a recent study showed that colleges are deviating from their pattern of offering aid from students who really need the aid to those who do not.
The main aim of the aid is to help the students that need the money to continue with their studies. But nowadays, the number of need based financial aid has significantly dropped due to the merit based aid.
Students who have a perfect SAT score and a strong academic background are usually given the financial aid regardless of whether they can afford it or not. And many times the students who get aid based on merit can afford it, and are still preferred over the needy students. Merit based aid is normally used to draw remarkable students that would prove to be an asset for the institution.
This behavior is not only applied by the top notch private institutions but also by the public colleges as well. The entire point of providing access to education to students who cannot afford it is being defied by this rule. To offer aid to a student just because he might bring fame to the college even if he can afford the tuition, over a student who was did not have the perfect SAT score, could not afford a college degree and was never given a chance, is unethical, immoral and insensitive.
Most of the aid given by universities is based on merit. In a research done by Hossler and Zipskin of Indiana University, it was claimed that "institutional financial aid may be going disproportionately to students who are more likely to persist overall."
Also, the students that really need aid are said to perform better in their academics than those who did not need aid. This is because they have to keep up with a brilliant grade point average because otherwise they might not be further considered for financial aid. So they work more and harder because they know if the financial aid is not offered they might not be able to continue their studies. Further, we must be careful or government grants for needy families may follow the same suit and are currently running the risk of shifting purely to merit based awards rather than taking student needs into account.
The purpose of financial aid is to help the disadvantaged, and we have to keep this purpose in mind before giving away the aid.
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