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Paying for College? HOW?

December 10, 2010

I wonder what Mill would have thought about students that want to go to college, but lack the funds due to so. I think that we would have thought it was unfair and needed to be changed. This group of people, in the case that I am speaking of, refers specifically to those who want to want to attend college and cannot, not because their families don’t have the funds, but because their families won’t pay or even help pay to further their education. FAFSA, a federal aid form that many students fill out year, asks families to submit information like salaries, money in the bank, and other assets. Then they determine an EFC (expected family contribution). The EFC is what the government believes that a family should be able to contribute to a child’s education. While this plan seems reasonable on the surface, it is not always what it seems. A highly intelligent student that I know is suffering from this very problem now. His family’s EFC is around 15,000 dollars. However, his family refuses to help him in any way and will not even sign loans for his schooling. Since he is over 18 emancipation is near impossible. I’m asking what can be done about this. In Mill’s format for deciding whether institutional reform is necessary, I will exhibit why steps must be taken to help this group of people. First, this is being excluded from “participating in a practice”. Yes. However, the group could participate if necessary funding was available. Yes. Thus this leads to institutional reform since participation would be considered meaningful. Attending college can open numerous doors that can help an individual succeed in his or her life. However, without adequate hope it is just a dream unfulfilled. According to the graph below http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/08/23/how-americans-pay-for-college/
61% of college funds come from parents (14% student borrowing is often based off of parents cosigning on loans-something that is impossible for some students). Let me know what you think? I think we need reform and I think Mill would agree.

3 Comments
  1. arimark91 permalink
    December 10, 2010 8:54 PM

    I think Mill would agree as well. Mill is all about equal opportunity for everyone, but people who don’t have as much money or whose parents are not willing to pay are not getting equal opportunity. Even 18 year olds who have worked their whole lives do not have anywhere near the amount needed to pay for college because they chose to get an education at the same time. Mill would want to give everyone the chance to be able to learn.

  2. Sebastian S. permalink
    December 10, 2010 8:59 PM

    I agree that reform is needed. Very bright and intellectual individuals are denied a college education simply because they do not receive financial aid from their parents or in the form of loans (because their parents won’t co-sign). While federal subsidized and Perkins loans go a long way (especially since there is no interest until you actually start paying off the loan), many people with high EFCs are denied this financial aid; to make matters worse, they receive no help from their family. The way I see it, there are two options. Either parents (who can actually afford it) should start helping their kids pay for college, or the government should revise its methods of calculating how much families can actually contribute.

  3. jwalsky24 permalink
    December 10, 2010 10:16 PM

    I personally think there is a big need for reform, and I would love to see some movement on this from NGOs and not just the application of pressure on Congress for FAFSA reform. That said, I do not think Mill would have thought the same. He was all about individual rights and the equality of opportunity, but our idea of opportunity is different than his. He would have likely thought that people have the same opportunity to attend college, and it is unfortunate that some can’t afford it (remember, this is a man who didn’t even support progressive taxation). His idea of equality of opportunity was based on the fact that during his time, only white males could go to college, even if you were black and rich, they still would not accept you.

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