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More than half of states now award some financial aid for college students based on academic achievement, as opposed to need. http://on.wsj.com/TaJ8UI

Who should get more financial aid: the best students, or those most in need? Why?
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Claire Bordelon's profile photoSanjay Negi's profile photoCatherine G Rautenkranz's profile photoKirill Lebedev's profile photo
31 comments
 
Why does it always have to be absolute either/or? Good students should receive support if they require it. Slippery slope if we get into nature/nuture.
 
I think the word "aid" is a little misleading, since it could mean a merit-based grant/scholarship, or a need-based loan. It'd be tough to even pretend the two are equal in value, and yet they both fall under the term "aid", which is then used in headlines like these to make it seem like it's a zero-sum game between the two. 
 
Goodness.  Half the time people are good at something is because of the wealth of the family.  Whilst people should absolutely be recognised for great work the focus on education should be ensuring that anybody has the opportunity to be who they want - provided they have the tenacity, will and ability - regardless of background
 
+Christo Norman how else do teenagers show tenacity, will, and ability other than thru grades? My family was not wealthy, but valued education and I worked hard for my grades.
I dont believe that anyone should just be given money cuz they need it to attend college. Banks screen applicants before handing out loans. If students don't demonstrate they want money for college thru grades, extra curricular, and sports; they shouldn't be given the money. If parents know they don't have the money for college, then they should start instilling the value of education for their child's future. 
 
The cost just needs to
go down. 
 
Agreed +Claire Bordelon.  People need to want education.  The challenge is that people in low socio-economic demographics often struggle with education not because they deem it unimportant, but rather because the costs to the family are to much.

People born in affluent families are far more likely to do well in schools and a large reason for this is their socio-economic background.  Why would I reward these people who should be doing well anyway? 
 
Merit, of course, and ONLY merit. Nobody should get any aid just because they poor, first they should prove they can deliver, then they'll get the money.
 
When you only reward merit, you risk increasing education disparity (because, in a nation with liberty, you can't legislate motivation to do well in school). However, you'll notice that, in a nation with liberty, you  also can't stop the uneducated from reproducing (and subsequently passing on their negative views of education to future generations). So if you refuse to educate them, you invite a future of an uneducated majority, making uninformed choices.

This is why "reward merit or need" still isn't the right question. The question is "how do we change mindsets to value education." I see the factors to this as including things like: Personal responsibility (so people understand why they will benefit from it), self-worth (so they have the fortitude to endure the struggle)...gotta be plenty more, but I'm improvising here.

Anyhow, the's the rub, when it comes to liberty. You can't make choices compulsory, even when you're certain that it's the wiser choice. Only each individual's personal responsibility can counteract the negative sides of liberty. (Can't legislate personal responsibility either, of course.)

So what do you do? Do your part to spread wisdom. Do your part to spread personal responsibility. But remember, if you want to be an effective teacher, you can't trigger people's defenses. Otherwise you risk perpetuating the very same biases against learning that you're trying to combat.

Endlessly tricky, I admit. Only our perseverance will win out.
 
Totally agree help should be granted only on merit, I'm  far for being a affluent, or rich but kids who really wants to succed and are disciplined and have  good grades ,they must get help, regardless their socio economic background.
 
If all things were equal merit wold be the way to go. But in the world we currently live this will only widen the gap between the classes.
 
This phenomena perhaps has shared roots to the Tea Party movement... Everyone deserves a fair chance, an equal amount of aid for at least 4 years and a special allocation of funds (10% of overall budget, for example) should be made for those with merit. 
 
Equality, is a myth created by takers and forced "equalization" is tyranny and nothing else.
"Fair chance"? Well, it depends how you determine fairness.
I don't think it's fare when this aid gets wasted by some pothead who gets into college just to get away from parents.
 
Should be spent on helping the disadvantaged? 
 
+Christo Norman should be both. And, I have found that many times "disadvantaged" is self inflicted. 
 
Merit. An individual without merit has not earned the scholarship.

Say a scholarship were to come down to two finalists, Adam and Brian. Identical after school activities. They have the same test scores on SAT. Adam earned a 3.5 GPA, and Brian earned a 3.8 GPA. Adam's family earned $28K last year and Brian's earned $30K.

Would anyone really suggest that the nod should go to Adam? Neither family is wealthy, college will financially be a burden to both. In the end, it must be provided to Brian based on his performance.
 
How can you participate in extra curricular activities if you cant afford the extra fees, every club now makes parents foot the cost of these activities. 
 
Equality is impossible but equality of opportunity is doable...providing education is a step towards equality of opportunity...everyone who does well in junior school should automatically have a right to high school whether parents can afford it or not...everyone who does well in secondary school should have a right to college education...

So both merit and means get taken care of to bolster equality of opportunity...
 
I hear you +Phil Davis, but then often it isn't.  You know, those people who have no money, their parents were drunk etc.  I was raised well below the poverty line and through hard work and a bit of luck I've managed to make life pretty comfortable but I do recognise that there was some luck in there.  I'd like to see the luck taken out.
 
+Christo Norman "I'd like to see the luck taken out."
Pretty idealistic, utopian and absolutely unrealistic way of thinking, unless you meaning pretty drastic redistribution of wealth. They tried that in many countries - it usually ends up with bloody wars between equalizers and equalized, dictatorships and total corruption of power.
 
+Kirill Lebedev please name these countries that tried this and ended up in bloody wars and dictators....
 
A balance, it is important to offer opportunities but it is also important to recognize and encourage achievement before it dies off all together. those who are provided opportunities they would not have otherwise should definitley be expected to provide some return on that investment that was made in their potential
 
+wayne clark Russia. There was a Civil War in 1918-22 after "Great October Socialistic Revolution" in 1917 and then there was Stalin.
Korea. There was a war between  North and South, then North got Kim Ir Sen.
go back to history books:))
 
More contemporary versions +Kirill Lebedev & +wayne clark are Singapore, Australia, the United Kingdom and Germany.  they seem to have a far flatter education structure that gives people in lower socio-economic brackets a chance to rise.  The most effective at this I would argue has been Singapore.
 
+Kirill Lebedev , there is a big difference between "equalilizing" and "equality of opportunity"...what Russia, North Korea, China tried was "equalizing"...we know from history that does not work...the "equalizers" become the "more than equals" and some become Stalins...

The trick lies is somehow making opportunities available somewhat equally and education goes a long way in attempting that...

Two equally educated people, one rich and the other poor have a good chance of fighting it out in the market place for gainful employment...

Countries like Singapore are successfully demonstrating the model and could be good examples to follow......
 
The best students. Not everybody needs to go to college.
 
Let's know what Pope thinks  about this. And, if his opinion is not much to disagree with Christ, follow him
 
I believe people who have a passion for higher education even if they cant afford it, our society will regain anything we invest thru intelligence capital, also not everyone wants to go to college, many would rather have technical training which is just as valuable to our nation.
 
Merit should be the most important factor. Need is important, but if you can't show in high school that you care enough about school to make good grades then you shouldn't be offered money to continue your education. Colleges are overrun with students now, and Bachelor's degrees are a joke at a lot of schools partially because requirements have been reduced due to the number of students who are failing. I taught a math class at a university a few years ago, and the class had been dumbed down so much due to previous students failing that the current students learned nothing. It became a course in following directions and not on creative thought. Had these students, who won't even follow directions, been weeded out in high school (since following directions is one of the main keys to success in high school), the students who wanted to learn could have learned a lot of useful material. Half of the students had no passion whatsoever, and it is hard to understand why they were in college in the first place. College is a great thing, but it is not for everyone, and offering money to someone who does not meet high merit requirements is taking money away from someone who will definitely work hard and benefit from the education. Doing so in massive numbers leads to a decline in the higher education system's effectiveness. 
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