Every student deserves the opportunity to have a higher education, no matter what their financial situation may be. But because colleges and universities have now become notoriously expensive, lower-income students feel they will not be able to afford it. To make sure everyone has the opportunity to receive higher education, more colleges are now reaching out to help.
Most colleges and universities put a cap on the number of financial aid students who may enroll. They become more interested in the students who will be able to pay for their tuition in full. This kind of system leaves out many talented and driven individuals who could have excelled in higher education but were not given the opportunity to due to their income. Schools like American Talent Initiative (ATI) are working to increase their enrollment for lower-income students. ATI has increased the enrollment of students who receive federal Pell grants by 7,291 since the 2015-2016 school year. This is a step in the right direction that can open the doors of higher education for students who could only dream of attending.
Increasing enrollment for lower-income students is only the first step. Strategies must be put in place to make sure they can afford to stay in school once they have been accepted. Schools across the country have made an effort to raise more money to offer their students scholarships and grants. Leaders of colleges and universities are now prioritizing the establishment of socioeconomic diversity. They are now opting for need-based scholarships instead of merit-based scholarships and increasing the student body size to create additional space for students who receive Pell grants. Implementing these new strategies will give more students the opportunity to receive higher education.
One would think that the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) would be the most help for lower-income students. On the contrary, many students who are in need are actually rejected. When applying to be eligible for financial aid, scholarships, and grants through FAFSA, 30% of low-income students were selected for verification to prove their financial information was correct. This verification stands between students and their education. To help combat FAFSA, the U.S. Senate passed the FAFSA Act, which can potentially make higher education more accessible and improve the financial aid process for many of the students who need it.
Every student deserves to receive a higher education, no matter how high or low their family’s income may be. Colleges and universities making the effort to prioritize financial aid and helping lower-income students could give talented and driven individuals the opportunity to excel in higher education.