It is a universal fact that college is not a cheap investment, and acquiring aid to help with the cost can be hard to come by. Due to the recent drop in the economy, it is almost necessary to have a college degree to get a job. The rising cost and necessity of a college education has raised a debate on the eligibility of financial aid and who exactly should obtain the aid. The main focus in the financial aid debate is whether or not aid should be based on merit or need. A simple way to put this is should the student from lower income families receive aid because money is tight, or should students with the best grades get money for working hard and gaining high grade point averages? When both sides are examined, merit-based aid seems like the best choice when it is compared to need-based aid.
There are two different types of financial aid for college students, merit-based aid and need-based aid. Merit-based aid is given to students with good grades and allows them to not have to pay the full price of college tuition. This allows students who work hard in school to reap some form of reward for their efforts. Need-based aid gives students the ability to continue their education, when they would not have the money for college otherwise. The problem that is faced with the two kinds of aid is which party should receive the money, the hard working students or the lower class students?
When first looking at the argument, need-based aid appears to be the best way for the government to spend their money, but it is not completely fair. Merit-based aid is the best way to fairly give financial aid for college. Need-based aid is often not backed up by a strong educational background, making it less reliable. If a student truly wants to go to college, they should work hard and not expect it to be handed to them (Donoghue 2). It is easy to expect the government to hand you something but not have to work for it (“Government Run Financial” 1).
In the past few years, need-based aid has become a more popular option explored by colleges due to the recent fall in the economy. Current research shows that the majority of financial aid has begun leaning towards merit-based aid; this has begun to take some money away from those students who financially need it. Also, merit-aid is commonly offered to student with higher family incomes because of their grade point averages and extracurricular records throughout high school (Marcus 1). Without a large sum of money set aside for need-based aid, many students may not be able to attend college. Mark Kantrowitz, the publisher of Fastweb.com and Finaid.com, says “The most effective use of college grant money is need-based aid. It helps those with the most to gain, and it makes our society stronger in the process.” College may be a difficult goal to accomplish for small income families, but if the students are willing to work hard before college this should not be hard (Should More College 1).
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