Daniel Dennett and Michael Carter at CCAP blog about innovative approaches to increasing college affordability and access. While Dennett and Carter focus on provision of better information and counseling to students as they prepare for college, they also note the following:
the current financial aid process has failed to achieve its objectives to increase access, increase affordability and promote equality of opportunity. The current financial aid model falsely assumes that dropping money out of airplanes over college campuses will in some way fix these problems, without addressing the root of them. … [T]he US spends more per capita on education than any other country in the world.
The practice of channeling ever more government money into education has clearly not improved either affordability or access – in the last five years, the cost of four-year colleges rose 31% above the general inflation rate. Dennett and Carter pinpoint the main reason when they note that money is being dropped over college campuses: money is given to schools or is otherwise tied to a school, rather than provided to students. As a result, students are far less sensitive to increases in tuition. Rather than being provided with an incentive to shop around for a more affordable school, students instead face increasing costs and ever higher debts.
Our mission here at Discover Scholars is not to funnel more money to bloated institutional bureaucracies. Instead, we want to empower students by providing them with money that they can decide how to use, and to empower donors by letting them choose what types of students then want to support. Funding students rather than institutions will create some necessary competition between schools, resulting in higher quality education and lower costs – just the results we want.
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