By: The Tower Editorial Board
The Tower (Grosse Pointe, MI)
College scholarships are in high demand this time of year, with seniors choosing the place they want to spend their next four years. These scholarships help offset the costs of colleges for many students and are available to everybody, as they should be.
College is expensive for everyone, no matter the student’s family income.
The average cost of tuition and fees for the 2014–2015 school year was $31,231 at private colleges, $9,139 for state residents at public colleges and $22,958 for out-of-state residents attending public universities, according to The College Board.
These are staggering numbers when the average United States household income was only $53,046 in 2009-2013, according to the United States Census Bureau. This means that at the very least, the average family will be spending one-fifth of its income on college for only one of its children. If an average-income family has more than one child in college, even more of the family’s income goes towards their children’s education.
One of the ways that colleges help students and their families out is with scholarships. There are two types: merit-based, which are given for academic reasons, and need-based, which are given to students who show financial need.
Some people think that students should not apply for college scholarships if their family can easily afford college. The logic is that college scholarships should be reserved for students who cannot afford college, and if people who do not need them do not apply, then there will be more scholarships for people who really need them.
Any student entering college can apply for need-based scholarships. However, colleges will only give need-based scholarships to students whose families meet the financial aid criteria. Since students who are able to afford college are not able to receive financial need-based scholarships, merit-based scholarships are one of the few avenues for these students to reduce their college costs.
Many parents, regardless of income, believe their son or daughter should be responsible for a portion of their college costs so their student is invested in his or her own education.
Some students are able to help pay for college with money they earn working part-time or from summer jobs, but another way for students to “earn” money is through merit-based scholarships. These scholarships are the student’s contribution to their family and can save families tens of thousands of dollars.
Scholarships should be open to any student who wants to apply for one. In the case of merit-based scholarships, students who work hard and succeed at school should be able to reap the benefits of their hard work by getting a scholarship, no matter their family income.
Students who do well in high school should be rewarded, not punished, just because their families happen to have a higher income than the families of their peers.
Photo Credit: The Tower