Opinion: Grants bigger than student loans, but harder to get | Opinion

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Colleges and universities love to try to attract new students to apply by announcing false hopes for financial aid.

However, this help is not as easy to obtain as it is often claimed. Although our own university awards $ 330 million to students each year, I can’t help but think about how much of this money goes to loans rather than scholarships.

Scholarships are so important to students. College is a stepping stone into the real world, and no one should have to enter the real world with thousands of dollars in debt. Universities attract potential freshmen by promising them all this help. So many students fall into this trap, including me.

I come from a middle class household, so I am not eligible for federal grants. In three semesters at the University, I made the President’s Honor Roll and the Dean’s List. In addition to this, I am involved in other extracurricular activities and campus organizations. Still, I think the amount of financial aid I receive does not accurately reflect my academic achievements.

All the University offers me is $ 4,131.49 in TOPS and a scholarship of $ 250 each semester. The rest of my fee bill is an out of pocket expense my parents can barely afford to cover.

The scholarships are not as plentiful as people think. If they were, the national student loan debt would never have reached $ 1.6 trillion. Loans and scholarships / grants are two different types of aid that should be made clear when the University talks about its financial aid efforts.

Loans are easier to find than scholarships, but it should be different. Credit bureaus and even the federal government prefer to put students in debt rather than give them a helping hand to help pay for their education.

A friend of mine reached over $ 40,000 in student loans in his first year. Imagine how many comrades are faced with the same situation. How can our administration continue to let this happen?

The University also has strict scholarship retention policies and should work more with students who fall behind in GPA requirements instead of withdrawing their scholarships.

In addition, the University should offer more scholarships to students in general. Some students have multiple jobs to pay for their college education because they cannot get scholarships to cover the costs. There are so many types of students that need to be accommodated, but the University only cares about our money – not our financial difficulties.

Students need real help, not just loans. The facade of deceptive financial aid offers is tiresome and unnecessary. Don’t listen to universities showing their promises to your face. Believe me, I should know.

Tamia Southall is a sophomore mass communication student from New Orleans.

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