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Scholarship at Georgia Tech
There is really a fine line between the actual spending of merit-based and need-based in colleges financial aid programs. Schools tend to give highly qualified high school students grants even when they do not really need the money. It is hard to accurately depict how much a school truly spends on “need-based” aid as appose to “merit based aid”. Most institutions seem to find a certain balance on spending between these to categories that serves its institution well. Here at Georgia Tech the primary spending of financial aid should be merit-based rather then need-based.
Having a merit-based financial aid program at Georgia Tech would make it an even more prestigious school. By giving out scholarships primarily to those who have the best academic standing, Tech would be more likely to enroll a higher quality group of students. In contrast, giving out need-based aid to students would cause that highly qualified group of student to go to a different university where they get rewarded for their academic prestige. Since the Hope scholarship has been in affect for the state of Georgia in 1993, about three-fourths of Georgia students who scored better then 1500 on the SAT now decide to stay in state for their high education. Before the Hope scholarship only about twenty-three percent of theses students decided to remain in state. This merit based program has helped improve the academic standing of incoming freshmen classes. Incoming freshmen, on average, have a considerably higher average GPA and a higher SAT scoring range, which is 1250-1430.
A merit-based financial aid program forces students to work harder at school, as well as make force parents to become more efficient with saving their money. One of the major flaws with having a need-based financial aid program is that it punishes families that have carefully saved money for their son or daughter’s tuition. If two families have the same income, the family that saved less for their child’s tuition will be more likely to receive a grant then the family that saved their money wisely. A need-based program gives the incentive to families to spend their money and not save it for college tuition. A merit-based program rewards those students who work hard in high school in order to receive the benefits. If a student is in need of aid, that person must realize that the money he receives will have to be earned through hard work rather then just handed to him.
A primarily merit-based program still gives everyone an equal opportunity to attend Georgia Tech in that everyone has the chance to excel at school. People who are in need still have the chance to receive aid. However, it will have to be because of good academic standing rather then belonging to a low-income family.
Although the HOPE scholarship is considered a merit-based program, in terms of applying the Georgia Tech it could almost be considered both. Technically, the HOPE program is merit based because it is only based on high school GPA. In order to qualify for this program a Georgia student needs a high school GPA of 3.0, but the admission standard of Georgia Tech is much higher. So the majority of students who go to Georgia Tech and are on a need bases, receive compensation through the HOPE scholarship program.
A merit-based financial aid program would make Georgia Tech an even more prestigious institution. It rewards those who are will to work hard and save money for college. It is hard to keep track of how much a school spends on actual need versus merit aid. Through the HOPE scholarship many needy students receive aid that is considered to be merit based money. Every college and university has some certain balance in their financial aid program that distributes the recourses fairly among need and merit based aid.
Financial Aid at Georgia Tech
Many students throughout the nation get some sort of financial aid when they attend college. The financial aid can be because of outstanding grades and standardized testing scores, or it could also be because a college bound student is part of a low-income family. Some colleges and universities feel that merit-based financial aid is better for their particular institution because it helps create diversity and helps the less fortunate sector of the general public. Other colleges may feel that merit based is a better way to go because it intrigues the more prestigious students to their school, therefore, make the school, itself, more prestigious. Georgia’s Hope Scholarship program gives out financial-aid based on merit standings. While this is technically a merit-based program, most college bound students from Georgia, who are on a need-based standing, will receive compensation through the HOPE program. Georgia Tech should base financial aid on merit because it improves the undergraduate body, while still giving everyone an opportunity to receive monetary help.
Having a merit-based financial aid program at Georgia Tech would make it an even more prestigious school. By giving out scholarships primarily to those who have the best academic standing, Tech would be more likely to enroll a higher quality group of undergraduate students. If Georgia Tech were to give out need-based aid to students would cause that highly qualified group of student to go to a different university where they would get rewarded for their academic excellence. Since the Hope scholarship has been in affect for the state of Georgia in 1993, about three-fourths of Georgia students who scored better then 1500 on the SAT now decide to stay in state for their high education. This is much improved from before the Hope scholarship, where only about twenty-three percent of the students who scored better then 1500 on the SAT decided to remain in state. Because of the Hope Scholarship, the incoming freshmen, on average, have a considerably higher average GPA and a higher SAT scoring range, which is 1250-1430 (Selingo 2001, 20).
Unlike a need-based financial aid program, a merit-based financial aid program will give everyone the opportunity to receive aid. Some people feel that a merit program closes the door to college for many under privileged families. But the fact is that if student from poor families decide to wok hard and take the extra step to get superior grades, then that student can still get a scholarship to a college. Having a need-based program seems to be somewhat unfair to those students from middle to upper classes who decided to work hard and not receive any reward from financial aid. While lower class students, who did not put forth near the amount of effort, receive aid because of their parents income.
With the HOPE scholarship program in place, most kids who come to Georgia Tech have their tuition fully paid. The HOPE scholarship is considered to be a merit-based program because it has GPA and not income requirements. However, the HOPE scholarship still helps out many lower class families because of the easy requirements to obtain HOPE. In the year 1997, over one-third of all enrolling first year students attending public Georgia schools received the HOPE scholarship. The numbers are sure to be much higher at Georgia Tech because a student’s high school GPA must be well over a 3.0 in order to receive admissions (Evaluation 1998, 5).
Another reason why Georgia Tech should have a merit-based program is because of its already low tuitions fees, especially the in-state fees. Georgia Tech’s tuition, when considered to private or even other public schools, is considerably lower. Tuition at Georgia Tech is $1,684 per semester for in-state students and $8,324 for out of state students. Emory University, a private school just down the street, has tuition of $18,549 per semester, which is over twice as much as out of state tuition for Georgia Tech. The University of Michigan is a public school, like Tech, with an out of state tuition of $16,278 per semester, again almost twice as much as Tech (Campus). With tuition at Tech relatively low, Georgia Tech should concentrate on recruiting higher quality students to its campus.
Most Advocates of the need-based program argue that a need-based program helps create diversity in a school. This may be true, however, at Georgia Tech there is a great diversity among the student body even though a majority of its financial aid money goes towards “merit” use. Georgia Tech is able to attract students from all over the country as well as the world. There are many different races of people that speak different languages, which gives Tech students the opportunity to embrace these different cultures. Tech students still have this chance even though most of its money financial aid money goes toward merit use.
Financial-aid at Georgia Tech should be primarily merit-based rather then need-based. With a merit-based program, Tech can recruit a higher quality undergraduate student body, while still giving everyone the opportunity to receive aid. Financial- aid should not be the same for all colleges and universities. Perhaps for some, it would be better to give more money on a need-based program. However, At Tech, with tuition low and diversity high, it seems like a merit-based program is a much more efficient road to take.
Web: College Search: [web page] 2005: http://www.campusdirt.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=RS.Search&guid
Web: “An Evaluation of Georgia’s Hope Scholarship Program.” Council for School Performance. [web page] 1998: http://www.arc.gsu.edu/csp/DownLoad/hope98.PDF
Article: Selingo, Jeffrey. 2001. “Questioning the Merit of Merit Scholarship.” The Chronicle of Higher Education. 47, 19:20.
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