Carstens: Scholarships should only be based on financial need, academics

scholarship application.jpg

scholarship application.jpg

Courtney Carstens

We drink coffee in unhealthy quantities. We all stay up late to complete homework that we had procrastinated on for days. We go out on weekends and a lot of us probably have a little too much fun at parties. But most importantly, we are all college students — and a good majority of us need money.

A total of 76.8 percent of students at Iowa State are in need of financial assistance in some shape or form. Most students need help despite their socioeconomic background or race. We all need help, and scholarships and grants are two of the easiest ways that provide health. However, with so many students in need, it is not fair for institutions to give scholarships based on race or sexual orientation.

The average Iowan who receives a college education — which makes up 68 percent of the population — leaves college with a debt of roughly $30,000. It is quite clear that any help that can be given would be appreciated, but giving out ethnically-based scholarships is wrong and divides minorities and Caucasians even more.

Scholarships that are only based off of financial need and/or academic scholarships are the best types available. These types of aid require you work for them. This is great considering they motivate people to work harder, which not only helps them pay for college but also helps with academic progress while in school.

I say this because the type of drive you acquire through hard work can stay with you for life. We have all had those days when we don’t want to leave our beds and go to class, but practice makes perfect when it comes to motivation. My motivation to go on such days comes from my belief that if I continue getting the grades I do, I will receive more money for school.

Race-based, faith-based or any other type of scholarship or grant that is not based on financial need or academics should not be in use. Disability scholarships and aid are different because they fall into the financial need category since some people with disabilities need to pay for supplies just to be able to attend college. The other type of scholarships that are not based on financial need or academics do not help students become better people.

“Some of the key goals of affirmative action are to correct past discrimination at the college or university, to provide access to education to qualified and talented students of every race (especially underrepresented minority students), to level the playing field by compensating for or eliminating current cultural biases against minority students (such as those inherent in standardized academic tests), and to create diversity in the academic environment. Diversity, in particular, can improve the educational experience of all students by promoting a variety of perspectives and a robust and enlightening exchange of ideas and viewpoints,” according to FinAid, an online financial smart guide.

My biggest problem with this statement are the comments describing the correction of past discrimination and “leveling the playing field.” This is ridiculous because past discrimination is in the past and does not help anyone’s cause to bring it up. Bringing up past discrimination only seems to fuel animosity toward the groups that are being referenced. Additionally, when they talk about leveling the playing field, they don’t seem to realize that a person could receive hundreds to thousands of dollars more in scholarships just because of their ethnicity, which doesn’t level anything.

Some Caucasian societies and groups have tried to alleviate some of that by creating these scholarships. However, such scholarships or grants seem to be just as racist.

When thinking think about college students as a whole, people quickly associate them with a need for money, and that is not an untrue stereotype. However, we shouldn’t receive money that is not due to hard work or is not necessary for attendance. Working hard and getting good grades should be the only factors aside from financial need that should be taken into account when deciding who receives scholarships.