As Kent State accepted its highest-achieving freshman class this past August, merit-based aid has been on the rise. While we are pleased to be surrounded by intelligent, hard-working students, we wonder whom we are leaving behind.
Need-based aid has been declining since the 2010-2011 academic year, which means we might be losing students who cannot afford to pay for a university education without significant scholarship. These students are vital to creating a well-rounded classroom as many come from diverse backgrounds.
We think the university needs to strike a balance between merit- and need-based aids. We’re not trying to take away from the students who have worked hard to achieve in the academic area. This is a school, and you need to be awarded for excelling in your studies.
However, some students have not had the same opportunities as others to be as involved. Some school districts do not have the resources to buy their students the most updated textbook or to renovate a computer lab. Students shouldn’t be punished for not taking opportunities they didn’t have.
Having a student body filled with merit- and need-based scholars is important for discussion and growth. You don’t learn from people who are the same as you. You learn from people who have had experiences outside of your comfort zone and come from a different walk of life.
College is not only about getting a degree but also about preparing yourself for the real world, which has a wide range of socio-economic statuses. The university needs to think hard about all aspects of a student’s education, which means balancing the ratio between need- and merit-based aids.
The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.