Today’s college students must confront so many crucial decisions, dodging so many poison-tipped expenses, that it would make a Spartan in ‘300’ cringe. So to alleviate the financial burden upon students, student aid programs such as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid and the Board of Governors Fee Waiver have been created.
But these monetary safety nets are not without their fair share of pitfalls. Both require collegians to attain an expected financial contribution number (EFC) to qualify. Some exceptions apply concerning the requirement, such as if a student is emancipated, married, a parent, a veteran or an orphan of the state. But the truth is an overwhelming majority of the students who apply are none of the above.
College students who are not required to report their parents’ financial earnings have an EFC number of 0. Therefore, they are eligible to receive more federal aid. Taking this into account, one must ask: At what point can an aspiring scholar be declared self-sufficient and capable of coping with life’s unexpected tribulations in a mature manner? According to FAFSA not until the age 24.
What it all boils down to is this: Many college students are being forced to claim money they probably don’t have. Upon realizing this fact, numerous collegians were left staring at their computers scratching their heads. “I felt like typing ‘WTF?’ in every box that asked,” said Kyle Bowes, an outraged student at Yuba College.
Not every college student is a statistics major, but it doesn’t take long for any poverty-stricken student to realize the financial aid age requirement logic falls five cans short of a six pack. Sure it’s okay for students under the age of 24 to vote, smoke, drink, bury themselves in debt and die in Iraq, under the presumption that they are responsible enough to approach such situations with the maturity of an adult. Yet the federal government still requires such individuals to report an income that may not be beneficial to them at all.
Furthermore, the government justifies its requirement with the assumption that most students are aided financially by their parents’ income or medical/dental plans. Granted, college students are leaving home later these days, but that doesn’t necessarily mean students are benefiting from it. Collegians are staying home because of the overbearing cost of room and board, not because they’d rather sit in their room and be bored.
Another reason for the age requirement can be traced to our country’s tight budget problem. Sorry to burst your bubble, President Bush, but shoring up budget expenditures at the expense of those who carry not only backpacks on their shoulders but the future as well isn’t the way salvage a deficit. Nor is it ethical.
If America wishes to alleviate the strain on taxpayers who have to pay off the state’s deepening deficit every year (which, by the way, is projected to be about 7 billion this year, forcing educational spending to take a backseat to medical care for the misbehaved mongrels in prison), then it should stop taxing those who are impoverished and in need of financial assistance, i.e. college students and their working-class parents.
The government should tax more those who can afford it, such as casinos, oil companies and the wealthy. Those who have can afford bathrooms with more square footage than the 8 x 10 cells that universities refer to as dorm rooms can afford to front the extra cash.
In return, the nation could then expand its educational spending budget and do away with the age requirement.