Comments about ‘How colleges take from the poor, give to the rich’

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Published: Saturday, May 25 2013 8:20 a.m. MDT

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Washington, UT

For starters, it's a false notion that college is for everyone, it's not. And forcing millions of young people through college only to graduate with a mountain of debt and no employment is a sham in and of itself. The colleges get millions in government money, hire more professors, expand programs, etc; under the guise there is this huge demand for their services.

Then, if you simply push kids through college regardless of how smart they are, you get degreed kids who really don't belong in that group and can't really compete in the real world.

Finally, this huge increase in college enrollment during the recession is due only to the fact none of these people can find work, so they go to college at govt expense--and still don't have a job when they graduate. Obama looks great because more kids are going to college, the college boasts of increased enrollment, they lobby their state legislatures that they need more money, so the state increases taxes, gives more money to the college, but now enrollment is trending downward again, and this whole thing is a charade.

Palmdale, CA

That is another way the man sticks it to some of the "poor" who are truly hardworking and honest people who try to live right everyday and make every effort to be successful in life without taking advantage of the system or taking a handout. If this is true, those colleges should be ashamed of themselves! Yet again, taking from the poor and giving to the rich! You just never know, you can have a diamond in the rough (someone raised poor) who could be a lot smarter than some rich kids, but you would never know that because the colleges and the "man" are too busy screwing the poor over to benefit them and the rich snobby unappreciative spoiled brats! I honestly believe what goes around, comes around...

Salt Lake City, UT

"'Low-income students have to take on a significant amount of debt or work full-time jobs while they are in school, or they have to stop out of school for periods of time while they work and save,' said report author Stephen Burd"


I am one of six children in a family whose parents earnings topped out at about $900/mo. a few months before my father died while undergoing a 2nd round of heart valve replacements.

Unlike several of my siblings and mostly because of my lackadaisical academic performance, I never obtained any scholarships and (probably because of my lackadaisical investigatory interest) never even knew about Pell grants. Nevertheless, we **all**, eventually, graduated from college. In my case it took a total elapsed time of 12 years interspersed with several periods of dropping out in order to earn enough in one of my **many** odd summer jobs to drop back in, usually while working part time.

I mention this to point out that this tale of "How colleges take from the poor, give to the rich" is not only very slanted and unrepresentative, it is unnecessarily demoralizing and, in my case at least, false.

Agua Dulce, TX

It's the rare resume that gets a second look that doesn't have a bachelor's degree.

I wouldn't have graduated without my Pell Grants.

Mcallen, TX

Pell grants is taking from working,---tax paying people, and giving it to those who don't pay income taxes. How can you take from the poor who doesn't have money to begin with?

There are many who work their way through college without robbing the working middle-class.

To many focus on benefits, while not finding ways of paying their way through. It's a slap in the face, having to beg someone to pay your way through life.

Sandy, UT

@dumprake: Certainly college isn't for everyone--that's clear if you look at any freshman-level class. But I'd much rather have the opportunity for a college education go to those with the ability and the interest to benefit from the opportunity. Otherwise, college just becomes a way for the upper classes to ensure that the silver spoon ends up in their children's mouths.

Pell Grants are supposed to ensure that smart young people--regardless of their parents' incomes--have the opportunity to improve their lot. The shell game this article describes is shifting scarce money to those who need it less.

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

Worf and All,

Can you work your way through school? Sure. If you live near to a college and can extend you timeline.

When I was a kid, I knew folks who worked 2 jobs in the summer and could pay for college, room, and board from their earnings.

Try that today. If school is $15,000 (in state or church school) with books, room, and board, what summer job could possibly pay for that?

Pell Grants help create the next generation of earners. They are a good deal for the taxpayer and a great anti-poverty program.

Omaha, NE

College Costs have exploded since Pell grants were instituted. If you suddenly increase the amount of money that students have then colleges are able to charge more. Slowly and surely they have. Now the price is out of reach. In the long run, it will be better to get rid of them. Then colleges (who will lose billions) will look to seriously cut costs like they should have been trying to do for decades.

@Twin Lights... why is college out of price today? It's because of the Pell Grants.

Brigham City, UT

Some people worship the university.

DN Subscriber
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Let's be honest about this. The government is broke and taxpayers are indebted out the wazoo for as far as they eye can see to pay our current $16.8 trillion debt.

Other than as a cynical redistribution of wealth program, or more accurately, welfare for those who want to delay working for four years while pretending to become educated, Pell grants are unaffordable and should be eliminated entirely.

For those who claim you cannot earn a good living without a college education, here are a few words of advice. Welder. Plumber. Mechanic. Health care.

Or, check out the education benefits that are earned (not given out as welfare) for military service, either active duty or Guard or Reserve.

TN Cougar
Johnson City, TN

Anyone can go to college that wants to.....all it takes is an enlistment in the U.S. military. Lots of people I knew in college were unwilling to sacrifice to make college a reality. I heard many people say "the military just isn't for me." My response.... "perhaps college isn't for you."

We should do away with the Pell grant system.

Mcallen, TX

Many of our poor, did not have good grades while growing up. Even with head start, free lunch program, and other benefits.

Pell grants, would be more efficiently used if based on ACT, or SAT scores rather then income levels.

The best education come those who work their way through college. It can be done.

Phil Kitchen
UK, 00

Though not American, the system of grants for those not able to attend college or university who may lack the financial means is available in many countries around the earth. It is disappointng that this system has and is being abused in ways that poorer students are disadvantaged. It is good that intelligence (even as measured by IQ) is not limited to those from wealthier backgrounds. It may be that some of the world's greatest minds contributing to the future of mankind will arise from less financially able homes. It would be immeasurably sad and disheartening to block educational opportunities for these young people with ability. If bursaries and scholarships are available, let colleges, universities, and granting authorities ensure they are allocated to those for whom they are intended.


There certainly seems to be a vast pool of college and university educated people. Yet relatively few of these seem to be able to think clearly or to write comprehensibly. Something is wrong.

Students appear often to arrive at university without even a basic education and needing remedial work.

"Smart people": who are they? Are they the people who are wise enough to choose a vocational course that will actually increase their real wealth and that of others by producing something essential at a price affordable to honest people of all "classes"? If people want wisdom universities cannot give it, only virtue, experience and the love of truth will discover that.

Charlotte, NC

20 percent with GPAs below 2.0 get "merit aid"? ! Let's forget about money, how do these students even get into college with those grades let alone get "MERIT" aid. Doesn't "merit" mean academic merit? It used to.

Where is the scam? Government gives colleges money and then the money is used exactly the way government says to use it. This frees up other resources for colleges to attract students who really do "merit" being there.

Also, not one mention of community colleges. Yes, most students cannot afford the most selective private universities. Is this a news flash that the poorest cannot afford them either? This is not the end of the road. Many students go to community colleges and take classes from good teaching professors and get a better education than they would have received had they taken those same classes from graduate students at a university. They save a fortune that can then be used for their junior and senior years and perhaps graduate school.

Boise, ID

No one is entitled to a college education. We are entitled to a basic education such as we get in publicly funded grade and high schools. But that is where it stops. Everything else is optional. In higher ed, students have to want to succeed and, by all rights, should have to prove they are capable of being successful in college. The latter is not required to get a Pell grant. Just about anyone can get one and therein lays the rub. The Feds throw money at the issue and hope against hope that the unprepared and unmotivated will take it and be successful.
You can’t fault universities from looking for full paying kids from wealthy families and the best and most motivated students. It is a matter of survival. The problem is the unmotivated and unprepared people who drag the system down financially, or so it seems.

Casa Grande, AZ

It's true that the college system is very corrupt from the cost to the nearly worthless courses required only to support academia.

There is however a movement towards online courses that should be free or nearly free since they cost so little to create and maintain per student. Coursera, Khanacademy and other online learning systems are gaining popularity and credentials.

We're just stuck in a very expensive and uncomfortable transition stage of education.

We should just be testing knowledge and competence and not assuming anything from credentials.

I tested out of 30 credits with CLEP and DANTES tests. A few weeks of study and about an hour of testing you have 3 credits. That's how it should be. Then my counselor got angry and told me no more credits would be accepted from testing.

Salt Lake City, UT

Well, with higher ed budgets, particularly for public schools, being slashed, the emphasis at the schools is on adademic merit as opposed to need. The schools are under tremendous pressure to produce actual graduates, and high performing ones at that, increasingly ignoring need. This is a bad situation, but it is one of the consequences of austerity, as misbegotten concept. So the capitalist system lurches about wihtout direction.

Huntsville, u

Just another redistribution of wealth program that doesn't work. Kids that don't get the grades in high school usually drop out in college. I would much rather see grants given to students with high test scores and more money given to students who take courses in engineering and courses that actually teach you something that will in turn also help the country prosper. Where will a degree in Race and Ethic Values take you other than flipping burgers?

Juan Figuroa
Seattle, WA

Worked my own way through BYU. Took me 10 years -- and BYU's short-term loan policy -- to do it, but I graduated with no debt, no parental assistance, and lots of experience on my resume.

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