Phi Beta Cons

The Right take on higher education.

The Trouble with Need-Based Scholarships


In this article we’ve just released, the Pope Center’s Jay Schalin looks at North Carolina’s policy of conferring college-scholarship funds on many low-income students who have exhibited little academic ability. He argues in favor of changes to, as his title says, “put the scholar in scholarships.”

Throwing state financial aid around carelessly adds considerably to the problem of overselling higher education. The idea is that it’s economically and socially beneficial to get as many young people from poor families as possible into college. As I’ve argued for years (and most recently, here), luring academically weak kids into college is apt to do little or nothing for them in “human capital” terms, but is very costly to taxpayers and the students themselves.


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