Scholarships: When B's, Not Need, Are Enough: At Least a Dozen States Offer Merit Scholarships to Keep Bright Students from Leaving. Should Financial Aid Go to Well-Off Families? (Education Times)

By Winter, Greg | New York Times Upfront, December 13, 2002 | Go to article overview

Scholarships: When B's, Not Need, Are Enough: At Least a Dozen States Offer Merit Scholarships to Keep Bright Students from Leaving. Should Financial Aid Go to Well-Off Families? (Education Times)


Winter, Greg, New York Times Upfront


Kelly Ryan has made good use of her college trust fund. It has bought a trusty Honda, trips to Italy, Argentina, Switzerland, some painful lessons about picking her own stocks, and, if all goes well, maybe even her first piece of real estate after graduation. About the only thing it has not paid for is, well, college.

No need for that. Ryan is a scholarship student. "I didn't want to spend thousands of dollars every semester," says Ryan, 21, a senior at the University of Georgia, where a B average in high school and college earns a free ride, regardless of one's ability to pay.

Ryan's story, though not exactly ordinary, is familiar in Georgia. Campus veterans marvel at all the poolside apartments that have sprung up since the state removed the income cap from its merit scholarship awards. Some professors speculate that instead of increasing college enrollment, the state's $1.7 billion scholarship program has been a blessing for the automobile industry--since so many families roll the savings into buying cars.

"Yep, that was the big incentive," says Kristin McKenna, a senior who once set her sights far and wide for college, eyeing the distant, shiny coast of California, until her mother stepped forward with what is often called the "UGA exchange"--get the scholarship, get a car.

Though income is still a deciding factor in most other awards, particularly federal grants, states and universities are increasingly helping students who were once too well-off to qualify.

HELP FOR THE WEALTHY?

As a result, the percentage of students from families earning $100,000 or more who get state grants grew seven times faster than those earning less than $20,000 between 1992 and 2000, federal statistics show. A decade ago, less than 2 percent of the highest-income families got state grants. That figure surpassed 5 percent by 2000, even before many states started giving grants based solely on academic performance--regardless of family income.

The growth of the merit awards has fueled a national debate over the very meaning of scholarships, and who should get them. "It is inefficient--indeed, inequitable--to give public dollars to these kids when they would go to college anyway," says Donald E. Heller, an education professor at Pennsylvania State University.

Since Georgia instituted its merit scholarships in 1993, trying to slow the migration of students who ventured off to college and rarely returned, at least 11 states have followed its lead.

States are using merit awards to encourage students to stay close to home for college.

The programs pay full or partial tuition for better-than-average seniors who embrace their local universities, despite what their parents earn. The awards are funded mostly from state lotteries and tobacco company payments from the 1998 settlement of health-related lawsuits.

So far, the scholarships do not seem to be helping many more students go to college. In Georgia, only about 5 percent of the money goes to students who would have either left the state or skipped college.

But criticizing merit awards for not inspiring more people to go to college is misguided, some argue. The awards mainly serve as an economic development tool for states eager to retain their college-bound students, with a particular nod to middle-class families who have found scholarships elusive.

If there is one thing on which both sides agree, it is that merit awards by themselves are insufficient. Whittling away at high school drop-out rates and helping below-average students excel--so that they, too, can earn scholarships--calls for a major investment in schools that few educators or politicians would openly argue against.

Still, defenders say, the merit-based movement is consistent with the fundamental changes coursing through the educational system. Eighteen states already have exit exams that students must pass before receiving a high school diploma, and the demand for rigorous academic standards seems to get louder every year. …

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

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 ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

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

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Scholarships: When B's, Not Need, Are Enough: At Least a Dozen States Offer Merit Scholarships to Keep Bright Students from Leaving. Should Financial Aid Go to Well-Off Families? (Education Times)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
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?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
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.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, 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." (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

    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.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.