Who should decide our financial aid?

By Sahra Ali
March 18, 2014

Financial Aid helps millions of students make it through college, but how much does it really help?  Every year the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is released. Students are then encouraged to fill it out, even if they feel as though they may not qualify because there is always a possibility that they would qualify.

The information then allows the federal government to determine a family’s Estimated Family Contribution (EFC). This number is an estimate as to how much your family may be able to contribute to your college education. But many are saying this formula is outdated and that the government  is overestimating how much families really are able to spend on their child’s tuition.

Kim Clark from US News said that there are three ways the government overestimates a family’s ability to pay for college. First is the outdated budget estimates, which “bases its estimate of what families can afford today on a government budget for a ‘family maintaining a lower standard of living’ in 1967.” Does the government know that we are in a different century? It is now 2014. Clearly that formula needs to be thrown out. The second is that the government doesn’t take into consideration that different cities have higher and lower standards of living and the third one is that the government has unrealistic assumptions about a family’s spending.

The one that really got me was the formula. The formula really needs updating. It would allow so many more people out there the incentive and probably the will to go to college. Anything helps, and sometimes these people are not getting the help they need to fulfill the education they want.

I personally think that the government is out of touch with the students. The country needs to strengthen their youth because in a few years time they will be the ones who are in power and out ruling the workforce, and  if they are not ready for that responsibility things could go terribly wrong for everyone.

I know people who were unable to afford college, and the government wasn’t giving them the help they needed to pay for school so instead they just settled for a job, and thought “well maybe if I work at this company long enough I may be able to work my way up.” And for so many that may be the only way to earn a living in this day and age.

The higher education system in this country really needs some work. Students  graduate with thousands of dollars in debt and spend years paying it off without the guarantee of a job. Many people out there are probably thinking “why would I go to college?”  And it is a perfectly reasonable question to ask.

Clearly somebody is not doing something right. Whether it is the government for not aiding enough or the colleges for having unbelievably high tuition rates  either way there is a clear problem and hopefully somebody needs to realize this sooner rather than later.

Sahra Ali

Communications major @ Cabrini College.

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