Monday, August 24, 2015

EDUCATION - Rethinking College

also from 'Greed Files'

"Should financial aid only go to college students in need?" PBS NewsHour 8/19/2015


SUMMARY:  At many colleges and universities, merit-based scholarships are meant to attract the best and the brightest students.  But opponents say they can inadvertently end up rewarding the richest applicants.  That’s why some schools have started giving out need-based aid only.  Hari Sreenivasan explores how Franklin & Marshall College in Pennsylvania made the jump to improve its economic diversity.

MAN:  Congratulations.


HARI SREENIVASAN (NewsHour):  Michael DiAntonio is the face of a new college bidding war.  A gifted student in high school, DiAntonio was offered thousands of dollars in merit scholarships at several universities, even though his family was wealthy enough to pay full tuition.

MAN:  Michael Anthony DiAntonio III.


HARI SREENIVASAN:  DiAntonio turned down the scholarships and chose instead to attend Franklin & Marshall, a private college in Pennsylvania, that offered him no aid at all.  His family paid full tuition, room and board, $60,000 annually for four years.

This spring, DiAntonio graduated, and despite the high costs, he and his family say the education here received was well worth the investment.

MIKE DIANTONIO, Franklin & Marshall College Graduate:  I would say it’s worth it 100 percent.  I could really excel and push myself as hard as I could and come out of it with an amazing education.

HARI SREENIVASAN:  Education experts say a growing number of colleges across the country are offering their precious scholarship money to families who can already afford it.

MICHAEL DANNENBERG, Education Reform Now:  The concept of using financial aid as bait has been increasing, bait for upper-income families.

HARI SREENIVASAN:  According to Michael Dannenberg with Education Reform Now, more affluent students means a better bottom line for schools.

MICHAEL DANNENBERG:  Colleges are kind of in a competitive market, competitive game to get high-paying students.  So they use financial aid as a tool.

Basically, a college that’s got $20,000 to give out in financial aid, so it can get four students who will pay $15,000 out of pocket, as opposed to one very needy student who can pay nothing.

HARI SREENIVASAN:  So, what could have cost the college $20,000 for one student instead earning the college $60,000.

In fact, that’s the path Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, was on, until five years ago, when the school took a hard look at the low-income students they were excluding.

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