Sunday, February 3, 2008

A liberal education

A quick thought on scholarships:

As I was looking at colleges, my thought—and my parents’ thought—was quite simply “what college is right for me?” My criteria were challenging academics, strong foreign language and music programs. Some of my friends cared about class size or certain specialty majors or sports. I chose an expensive school—much more expensive than what my family could ever afford, but I had academic, service and need-based scholarships and financial aid that made the price reasonable.

Some of my money came from the federal government—grants I could have used for any school I chose, even a religious school. I even wrote an admissions essay for a religious college about faith-based initiatives and the origins of the establishment clause—a subject I studied extensively in high school. Right now, Pell Grants, the G.I. Bill and Hope Scholarships are federal monies, paid by taxpayers, that college students use to pursue the best higher education for them, and our legislators work diligently to expand that to give enough aid to offset the rising cost of college.

It seems—and is—that we have no problem with tuition aid for private colleges but when it comes to extending that to public schools we balk, even though the ideology and mechanics are identical. What’s the hold up? It’s the epitome of a double standard to say that students pursuing higher education can choose where they attend college while extending the same option for the same reason to public school students is seen as a ‘dismantling’ of public education. It hasn’t dismantled higher ed. It’s even worse, in a way, because a child’s k-12 education determines what kind of future is available to them after graduation.

"Individualism is going around these days in uniform, handing out the party line on individualism."

"Education is coming to be, not a long-term investment in young minds and in the life of the community, but a short-term investment in the economy."

Wendell Barry

1 comment:

stella said...

I got a grant from the federal government for $12,000 in financial aid, see how you can get one also at