Financial Aid

Proposal for a financial aid system that only gives rewards based on college achievement as well as high school success

Upon recent reflection, I have been greatly troubled by the financial aid system. Scholarships are given based upon high school GPA and SAT scores. However, there are many out there that succeed in high school, earning perfect SAT scores and GPAs greater than 4.0 due to extensive participation in honors courses and drop off the map upon arriving at college. They crumble under the stress of college courses or fall prey to temptations that arise with being on one’s own. These people get full scholarships as a reward for past performance.

Not to discount high school achievements, but what about those who perhaps weren’t as strong in high school, who did not perform well on the SATs due to test anxiety and did not want to be weighed down by honors courses, but come into full bloom when they hit college? What about those for whom high school was a proverbial winter and college is a metaphorical spring? There are many people who are more successful in college than those who performed well in high school. Should colleges and universities not also recognize such students?

Therefore, I propose a financial aid overhaul. I am writing to advocate a system of financial aid where students are not only given scholarships by colleges and universities based on high school achievement, but given bonuses by colleges for their college achievement.

In this hypothetical system, students who make Dean’s List would be given perhaps a couple hundred or thousand dollar bonuses to their financial aid package that would be taken off tuition for the upcoming semester or year, depending on whether tuition payments are made on a semesterly or yearly basis.

This would be a great way for colleges to retain students that not just performed well in high school, but are performing well at their institutions as well. Giving such bonuses would be a great way to further inspire students to make their classes a main focus and retain students that are scholastic assets to their campuses.

Every college knows that it’s not a matter of merely obtaining and recruiting students, but retaining students as well, especially those that are making valuable academic contributions. Providing these bonuses could be a great way to enhance retention. Let’s not let good students slip through the cracks of our university system. Students who are performing well on their campuses should not be the ones having to scrap for pennies. Let’s make a step in the right direction of rewarding these students and giving credit where credit is due.

According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, the retention rate at private-four year institutions with Open Admissions is approximately 50% and the graduation rate at such institutions is approximately 30%. Providing additional financial aid could help increase this graduation rate as students would have an option of earning more, which may allow them to complete their degrees, by exemplifying strong academic importance.

Ashley Kline