Academic scholarships should be the bread and butter of the entire financial aid system. Unfortunately, academic scholarships often take a back seat to scholarships based on ethnicity, gender, or how much money your family makes.
Looking at academic scholarships for women provides a perfect example of how the system is broken. Men score higher on the SAT, which is supposed to accurately predict success in college. Yet once they reach a college campus, young men get worse grades and drop out at a much higher rate.
Since the number one reason college students drop out of school is lack of funds, it is not difficult to make the connection. Women win more academic scholarships based simply on the fact that they are women.
And these academic scholarships are not true academic scholarships because they are going mostly for middle-class white women who are already graduating from college at a higher rate than any other group. Underrepresented? Hardly. Women make up 58 percent of all students on college campuses.
Academic scholarships should go to those students who have the best opportunity to take advantage of them. Minority students should not be receiving academic scholarships simply because of the hue of their skin—in fact, this is a disservice to them.
What is happening is that minority students who have not put in the work in high school are getting academic scholarships even though they are unprepared to do the work when they get to college. Minority students drop out of college at a much higher rate. Sure, lack of money is a contributing factor, but being academically unprepared is a factor as well. Money is not going to solve everything for a student who is unprepared to do the work.
Academic scholarships should go to those who achieve academically. What does this racial and gender spoils system say to National Merit scholars who are academically in the top 1 percent of all high schoolers in the country? You work hard, have special gifts, go through a rigorous qualifying process, and in the end, we will give you $2,500 for college.
Meanwhile, if you are poor and a mediocre student, you automatically get a Pell Grant worth $5,800. If you are a minority, you get even more. A woman? Even more.
Again, the system for awarding academic scholarships is broken. We should reward the best and the brightest, not mediocrity. It’s simply not a good investment.
One of the main reasons college tuition costs are going through the roof is that all taxpayers are paying for all the free rides of half the student body. On college campuses, you would think they should know better.
College campuses are supposed to be bastions of higher learning based on intellectual diversity. Now they have become bastions of monolithic thinking based on racial diversity, lowering standards, and, oh yeah, catering to women who are already achieving in a system that is rigged to favor them.
Bring back academic scholarships that go to the truly gifted students no matter what they look like. Only then can we be building a foundation based on merit and not on less-important factors.