It must be Higher Education Bubble week in the news. First we learned how much schools spend on their fancy new dorms, and now we read in the LA Times that California is setting up a new scholarship program—for students whose families earn $80,000 or more. The upper limit? $150,000.The LAT:
The awards are relatively low initially but could more than triple over the next three years and cover between 10% and 40% of UC and Cal State tuition on a sliding income scale by 2017 — if promised state funding comes through. […]Many other states offer aid that rewards academic merit regardless of income. (UC and Cal State offer some of those.) Yet, California’s middle-class scholarships are “groundbreaking” because they are so wide-reaching, don’t focus on the best students and have a high income cap, said Frank Ballmann, director of federal relations for the National Assn. of State Student Grant and Aid Programs.With all the political pressure to reduce student debt, he predicted that the new plan could become a national model. “Even if [California] is the first, I suspect they won’t be the last,” Ballmann said.
When students from families with six-figure incomes need state scholarships, you know there’s a problem with runaway costs. And the solution, as we like to repeat, isn’t offering more generous student aid, it’s cutting back on expenses.