Are Our Scholarship Students Still Doomed To Failure?
It’s not easy to gain acceptance for a scholarship anywhere, let alone in the U.S. Competition is fierce, spots are limited, and the odds are not forever in your favor. Thousands of applicants are rejected every year. So, if you’re one of the lucky ones, you may feel like the winner of an impossible race. At least, you will until the college term starts.
The simple fact is, the struggle doesn’t end on acceptance. The right to education is a battle lower-income students fight every day of their college careers. Unsurprisingly, this war is mainly about money, and it can do untold damage to their chances of success. While no one can deny the importance of not having to worry about tuition, it’s also fair to say that scholarships as they stand leave a lot to be desired.
The fact is, tuition in itself is far from the only expense of college life. This is an issue which individuals like Michael Martinez have been trying to tackle since their rough college experiences. But, small financial startups are nowhere near enough to address this ever-present issue. From their very first day on campus, many such students report feeling like a ‘fish out of water’ in such a wealthy environment.
Aside from just having emotional implications, this difference in situation can also spell trouble for the grades of such students. And, we’re going to look at a few of the reasons why.
Less time to study
It should come as no surprise that children from affluent families can afford the luxury of time. This is the case in every walk of life, and college is no different. The simple fact is, the more time you can dedicate to your course, the better your chance of success. While lectures and the like aren’t compulsory, it’s no secret that students with low attendance do worse on average. Aside from that, students who have unlimited time to write and revise essays can obviously get their work up to scratch.
For scholarship students, though, free time isn’t often an option. To stand any chance of affording small things like general living costs, such students have no choice but to take part-time or even full-time job roles. For obvious reasons, working and studying can put a real strain on anyone. Aside from restricting the time they can spend on assignments, a job could even lead to missed lectures through the year. And, that’s before you even consider the reality that pure burnout could lead to a lack of concentration. If exhaustion sets in, such students are also at risk of further absence due to illness. This discrepancy is a glaring issue. While things like student accommodation can reduce the cost of student living, not all scholarship students gain this luxury. What’s more, the need for food and such can still leave scholarship students no choice but to pile on the hours.
The trouble with tech
Modern education makes use of tech in a variety of ways. Many lecturers upload slides online for students to take a look at. Most colleges also have online resources for students to make use of. But, for obvious reasons, these additions can prove problematic for low-income students struggling to even eat. Admittedly, it is worth noting that most colleges do provide unlimited access to computers in their libraries. But, if you refer back to the above point, time to visit the library isn’t a luxury many scholarship students can afford. With limited opening hours, there is a risk that computer access won’t be available outside a student’s work hours.
Even those who can afford second-hand computers often struggle to reap their full benefits. Those living off-campus are unlikely to afford even cheap broadband packages. Even with internet access on campus, low-income students may struggle to work. Simple things, like not being able to pay for antivirus software, could lead to slow loading and crashing. Even with antivirus programs in place, Windows computers can still crash or run slow due to registry issues such as error 1603. The trouble is, you need to buy further software to fix error 1603. There are added costs at every turn when it comes to tech. And, a student already on the edge just can’t afford to weather this storm.
No chance to buy additional materials
It’s also worth noting that many lecturers recommend additional materials for bonus education. While these are by no means compulsory, it goes without saying that those who heed this advice gain better knowledge. For the most part, these additions are nothing major. They’re usually simple things, like extra textbooks or useful literature. But, they’re things a low-income student may simply not have access to. While these seem like small expenses, an already stretched student would be unable to consider them. This then puts them at an instant disadvantage compared with their fellow students. What’s more, the animosity which often exists between scholarship and paying students could mean even borrowing isn’t an option here.
So, those are the issues. A quick look into any top colleges will find this to be the case. Scholarship students continually work hard, yet remain at a disadvantage. On top of the above pointers, you could argue that class divides among students also lead to learning disadvantages. After all, things like study groups and post-lecture discussions can be a huge help to some students. Scholarship students are often excluded from these. Even if they weren’t, the issue of time would come into play again.
When you take all these issues into account, them, it seems evident that calls need to be made for more financial aid. While scholarship programs are fantastic for providing access to education, they’re by no means enough. Why should bright kids struggle because of the life they were born into? It seems obvious, here, that more funding should be put in place to help such students weather college life, and stand as much chance at good grades as their wealthier classmates.