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Sep 28, 2016 02:55 AM EDT

Are Colleges Giving More Financial Aid To Already Wealthy Students?

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Colleges are believed to be lavishing more financial aid to students who can easily afford a university education. Meanwhile, low-income students continue to struggle with finding grants and scholarships to help them with their tertiary studies.

It was previously reported that wealthy universities seem to be making higher education more unattainable for low-income students. The top 4 percent of colleges and universities have a third of all endowment wealth in higher education. Majority of those 138 schools, though, expect low-income families to shell out more than 60 percent of their income to cover the cost of attendance. These wealthy universities should enroll more low-income students and make education more affordable.

According to Investment News, federal financial aid forms will be available on Saturday, Oct. 1. This is three months earlier than in the past years. This brings up one issue regarding how financial aid seems to be directed towards already wealthy students instead of those who truly need it.

In a report by Yahoo, student Spencer Mulligan was offered a merit award of $20,000 for the course of four years by the University of Connecticut. This comes even when Mulligan knew that his family could pay for his college education without the help of loans or grants.

The publication added that financial aid, which is traditionally used to help poorer students, has become a bait to attract students from richer families. Apparently, state schools are using the money to entice the most qualified students from high-income families who can afford to pay the full sticker price.

"The reality is that for poor families, it's a question of whether the kids go to college at all. For the better-off family, it's a question of which college," Harold Levy, director of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, which provides need-based scholarships, said. "It's a tragic waste of talent. It alters the lives of students."

UConn has defended merit awards when asked by state lawmakers about affordability. University officials insisted that scholarships offered to top students are critical to the school's success. It is also said to attract students who have the option to attend Ivy League schools.

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