To illustrate - students with low income perform worse relative to their more privileged peers, and when a low income student is trying to get an education, she has to foot a far larger bill (she doesn't earn the merit scholarships).

If you just look at the amount of rich kids that get full rides because they're good at school, it undermines the merit argument. The current model seems to work again to the idea of social mobility, which we take for granted, by burdening poor people with more student debt.

Is this assessment correct and if so, is it a justifiable educational model?

closed as primarily opinion-based by Nate Eldredge, Mad Jack, Daniel R. Collins, Buzz, astronat Jan 5 '18 at 0:49

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    Lots of institutions give "merit scholarships" which are essentially tuition discounts to higher-performing students, so this is effectively the same thing. I've never heard anyone question the ethics of this. – Nate Eldredge Jan 4 '18 at 21:16
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    80% of my work as a professor was caused by the bottom 20% of students. – Bob Brown Jan 4 '18 at 21:24
  • I added the info in your comment to the post, and edited the title to clarify what the question is about (since the original version seemed unclear to many). – ff524 Jan 4 '18 at 21:29
  • Wouldn't having that kind of model send a negative message to potential students? What would happen if a student had a medical issue during the semester and his/her grades suffered? Should that student be punished under this model? The question is kind of strange is there some background information? – drsnark Jan 4 '18 at 21:29
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    This seems to mostly be a rant. – Jon Custer Jan 4 '18 at 21:34

Schools don't charge more to low performing students, they provide opportunities to attract and retain high performing students, through merit-based scholarships and grants. While it is probably true that low-SES individuals are less likely to qualify for such awards, it is not fair to surmise that schools are 'charging more' to low-SES individuals. There are many 'rich' students paying the same tuition as their less-well-off peers.

The more pertinent question is whether there exist sufficient non-merit based scholarships for disadvantaged populations, and need-based financial aid, to give low-SES individuals opportunity (probably not).

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