Poor left out as US increases financial aid to the wealthy

May 16, 2003

A government report has found that US universities have shifted their financial aid, presumably to attract more students with high entrance exam scores to improve their rankings in league tables. Needy students are being left behind, according to the report by the Department of Education.

At private universities, the proportion of the wealthiest students who are nonetheless receiving aid directly from the institutions rose from 41 per cent to 51 per cent from 1995 to 2000. At public universities, the proportion went from 13 per cent to 18 per cent.

Universities are increasingly concerned about attracting top students as competition among schools intensifies.

The overall percentage of undergraduates receiving institutional financial aid has increased in the past ten years from 47 per cent to 58 per cent at private universities and from 17 per cent to 23 per cent at public universities. The average amount of aid conferred by public universities is $2,700 (£1,675), and by private universities $7,000.

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