3 Dangerous Student Aid Myths: What Higher Education Leaders Can Do to Debunk Them

By Draeger, Justin | University Business, June 2012 | Go to article overview

3 Dangerous Student Aid Myths: What Higher Education Leaders Can Do to Debunk Them


Draeger, Justin, University Business


[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Unless you live in a cave, you've seen the alarming headlines highlighting "exploding" college costs and "crushing" student loan debt. Because the media is trying to grab readers' attention, these articles often use the most startling cases of these serious problems without providing context needed to fully understand the complexity of these issues. A simple internet search reveals the prevalence of these types of articles. Here are just a few recent headlines:

* College Costs and Student Debt Explode?

* Student Loans May Be 'Next Debt Bomb' for Economy

* Student Loan Debt Is Crushing America's Senior Citizens

* Staggering Law School Debts Will Lead to Exploding Debt

Disaster for Graduates and Taxpayers

The aim here is not to trivialize the challenge students and families face when trying to pay for college or repay loans. These are serious issues that merit serious debate and real solutions. But it's important to take a realistic look at the college access and affordability challenges we face to encourage a thoughtful and practical debate based on facts.

While these articles effectively accomplish their goal of grabbing readers' attention, they do a poor job of informing the public of the complex interplay between the many economic, demographic, and technological factors driving up the cost of college and student loan borrowing.

Unfortunately, a more accurate headline, such as "A Complex Combination of Economic Factors Increases College Costs and Loan Debt for Certain Students," just isn't as effective in grabbing readers' attention as headlines that suggest increasing college costs and student loan debt will cause immediate and devastating economic and societal damage.

Articles framed in that way hinder serious, rational debate on these issues. Worse, these articles make it appear as though we've already reached a point of no return on college access and affordability. They identify and then condemn a few factors for causing these trends and appeal to readers' emotions, making it more difficult to have a discussion based on empirical evidence.

This type of "hit and ruff' reporting uses hyperbole to distill complex issues into convenient sound bites that can create or reinforce myths and misconceptions. These myths are then adopted as facts and are regularly used by lawmakers and policymakers to develop and push higher education and student aid policy.

Following are three dangerous myths about student aid that are regularly used by policymakers to push misguided policies--and what higher ed officials must know to debunk them.

1. Increases in student aid drive up college costs.

This myth is a cornerstone of House Republicans' FY2013 budget resolution, and it is often referred to in House and Senate hearings on student aid and the cost of college. Lawmakers will cite this myth when justifying proposals to cut federal student aid spending.

Unfortunately, this myth is prevalent because it offers a seemingly simple, easy to understand explanation for what is really a multifaceted issue. It is much easier to blame student aid than to explain the complex interplay of numerous factors that actually influence college costs.

A report issued by House Republicans to accompany their FY2013 Budget Resolution maintains that "the decisions of colleges and universities to raise their prices would have been constrained if the federal government had not stepped in so often to subsidize rising tuitions." To address this issue, the budget resolution proposes limiting the growth of financial aid and focusing funds on low-income students to "force schools to reform and adapt." Essentially, the budget resolution would reduce federal funding for student aid by eliminating student loan subsidies and limiting student eligibility for Pell Grants and other federal aid.

But this theory is not founded in reality.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

3 Dangerous Student Aid Myths: What Higher Education Leaders Can Do to Debunk Them
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.