Being a college student is extremely pricey, especially for those who cannot afford it on their own.
While we attend a public school whose tuition is deemed affordable in comparison to other UCs, out of state universities, and private institutions, it still costs a great deal to be enrolled.
On top of tuition, college comes with a lot of fees. Some of these expenditures are apparent, while some are more of a surprise. Needless to say, a lot of students receive some form of financial aid.
According to the California State University site, in the 2014-2015 academic school year, more than 80 percent of the CSU population receives some form of financial aid.
Out of the population of financial aid recipients, 75 percent have their tuition fees fully covered.
This seems to be a generous number considering that financial aid is given on the basis of need, but it may not be entirely fair.
The amount of aid given is primarily based on the income of the student’s parent(s) or legal guardian(s). If the student is not dependent on a parent(s) or legal guardian(s), then their need is based on their own financial situation.
However, many college students are in adult limbo where they rely on their parents for some things and not others.
These things may include getting help with car insurance, health insurance and phone bills.
This is more than enough for parents to keep their children as dependents, but it doesn’t help the student if they are not being supported in other ways.
A lot of students are paying out of pocket, taking out loans or generally struggling to be able to afford the basics like tuition, fees, books, transportation and a place to live.
This becomes unfair when there is students with their entire tuition covered who have the support of their parents.
There are a lot of students, who absolutely need their tuition covered, but then there are some that have the support of both parents or other relatives while still receiving their tuition coverage based off the income of one parent.
Meanwhile there are many students struggling to get by on their own income.
Why should one student struggle with loans and minimum wage jobs to get by, when other students get to coast by?
Especially when they’re living on more or less the same amount of financial help from their parents.
There are things that Financial Aid doesn’t take into consideration when determining where funds go. They don’t look at how much the parent or guardian makes relative to how much they are spending on each person per household.
There are some people who unofficially foster children, take care of others with mild disabilities and have other children struggling to pay their college tuition.
Also, a person’s income means something different in relation to where they live. Making $70,000 in Bakersfield or Lancaster goes a lot further than making the same amount in Los Angeles or Burbank.
Another problem that arises with this is that students are expected to pay unnecessary fees.
For example, every student pays a fee for the BRIC, whether they use it or not. It would be nice to know upfront whether or not fees are optional.
There is also the problem that lies within the tuition itself.
According to CSU, there’s a portion of our tuition that is set aside for grants for students with greater needs.
There is definitely a hierarchy of need on campus, but there should be a more progressive way of distributing money.
If there was a way to determine how much a student needs based off of their parents’ income as well as how much they can contribute, it would alleviate the costs for many students.
This would also prevent some students from abusing the system, or simply getting aid that they don’t necessarily need.
There should also be the option to opt out of unnecessary or unused fees, as well as the portion of tuition that goes towards other students.
This would undoubtedly raise the tuition for many students both receiving and not receiving financial aid, but it would also level the playing field so there would be a more equal opportunity toward education.
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