Scholarships are a distraction from the student loan crisis – The Rocky Mountain Collegian

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A photo Illustration depicting Money (Colin Shepherd | The Collegian)

Editor’s Note: All content in the opinion section reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a position taken by The Collegian or its editorial board.

It’s no surprise that millions of Americans are struggling with student loan debt. According to EducationData.org, “43.2 million student borrowers have an average debt of $ 39,351 each.

The student debt crisis, on the evening of March 14, is $ 1.73 trillion. Student debt is more than any other type of debt except mortgage. The burden of paying for college is heavy and only increases year by year as does the price to pay for attending college steadily increasing.

As students and families struggle to find the funds to pay for their education, they turn to scholarships. But there are big misconceptions about scholarships – who gets them and how much the average scholarship is.

The Washington Post explained in a sinister article that full scholarships are extremely rare. The articles say, “Only 0.2% of students got $ 25,000 or more in scholarships per year, according to the 2015-16 National Post-Secondary Student Assistance Study.”

Many high school students spend countless hours playing sports, devoting their time to community service, or trying to juggle the presidency of their student government while still maintaining good grades, all to no avail.

While there are many things a high school student can do to become more viable candidates for merit scholarships or have the chance to be spotted as a varsity athlete, the harsh reality is that awards and financial aid scholarships will not meet many of these goals. meet student expectations.

Based on the figures from the aforementioned NPSAS study, Marc Kantrowitz, editor and vice president of research for Savingforcollege.com, reports that 1.58 million students have received a total of $ 6.1 billion in scholarships. If we only looked at students in undergraduate programs, which is one in eight students, each student received only $ 4,202.

The current state of the student loan crisis shows us that scholarships are not a comprehensive solution to the plight of higher education that is not affordable; they are a nice dressing on a system that needs amputation.

It’s easy to see where the stock markets can fail when you consider what the mean the state student attending a four-year institution will have to pay in one academic year, which is estimated at $ 25,615.

What is even more concerning is that scholarship applications often require multiple essays, references, resumes, and other time consuming documents out of busy student schedules, all for the possibility of snagging $ 500 here or $ 1,000 over there.

The use of scholarships to fund public education becomes even more questionable when we assess who is eligible for certain scholarships. Much of the scholarship is only available for certain ethnicities, religious affiliations, sexual orientations, gender expressions and other identities.

Although it is important that we provide financial assistance to groups of people who have been historically marginalized in the US it still operates in an ethically gray area as we subjectively decide who deserves these scholarships the most when we don’t have a full picture of every student.

In many cases, regardless of the size of the scholarship, students compete among thousands of equally qualified students.

The unfair reward of scholarships and the subjective decision-making process underscore that scholarships are not always a viable option. The current state of the student loan crisis shows us that scholarships are not a comprehensive solution to the plight of higher education that is not affordable; they are a nice dressing on a system that needs amputation.

Advocating for a policy that provides student loan forgiveness is a solution that benefits all students, not just those with the time and specific qualifications to obtain scholarships.

While scholarships are a great way to ease the burden of an expensive college degree, they should not be used as a distraction from the problem that plagues every student in America. Offering more scholarships is a great idea in theory, but there are more long-term benefits for more students when we focus on reducing the student loan crisis.

Cat Blouch can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @BlouchCat.



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