The Inky story (link below) suggests that the gap between the cost of college tuition and government aid is growing primarily because government aid is decreasing. I disagree because the story states tuitions have increased by and average of 10% in 2003 and more than 7% in 2004.
The article also speaks to the shift by some colleges to "merit aid" versus "need -based" aid. The president of the Univ of Penn, Amy Guttman, does some handwringing about this trend. But two quotes from the article by Guttman seem to be contradictory. See for yourself as I am placing the quotes below with my blogitorial comments.
Quote #1 "We all should be focusing on need-based financial aid, rather than on what is called merit...," Gutmann said yesterday. "Merit-based aid overwhelmingly goes to high-income students who can afford our institutions. But institutions are competing for them to raise their average SAT scores." Gutmann said the recent trend among colleges to offer more merit grants to top students is widening the gap between wealthy and low-income students. "Even if tuition rates were frozen, a college education simply would be out of reach for low-income and most middle-income families... were it not for need-based financial aid," she said. She is urging flagship public universities and Ivy League colleges to turn away from merit grants and expand the aid for low-income and middle-income students. Gutmann said Penn awards grants based only on family income.
Quote # 2 "If we want to be increasingly competitive as a society, we have to give the educational opportunities to our best and brightest students," she said. "It makes good competitive sense, as well as being on the side of justice."
Blogitorial comment....so in Quote #1 - Guttman says let's focus on need not merit. Then in Quote # 2- Guttman says the aid should go the best and the brightest. I say Guttman can't have it both ways. And I assume Guttman is really saying she wants the aid to go to the best and the brightest UNLESS they are well off. Same old same old social engineering! Lastly, it could be enlightening if the Inquirer would ask Guttman why the cost of college is increasing by 7-10% per year.
For your reading pleasure, below is the link to the actual story.