President Obama aims to make changes to financial aid system

President Barack Obama’s administration has launched a program ranking colleges in the United States that critics say could result in less federal financial aid being available for students at lower scoring colleges.

In February the College Scorecard was released by the president’s administration as part of the presidents plan to “hold colleges accountable for cost, value and quality,” according to a press release.

Part of the purpose of the Scorecard is to enable the Department of Education to collect accurate college performance ratings and “transform the way federal aid is awarded to colleges,” according to a fact sheet posted to the White House’s website on August 22, 2013.

Joseph Roberson, a counselor and instructor at Pierce, believes an individual student’s federal aid should not be linked to the performance of the school they attend.

“I don’t want my opportunities in life impacted by ethnicity, by my age, by the geographic location where I live, or the school I attend,” Roberson said.

While Roberson uses the College Scorecard and sees value in it he does not support the idea of using it to determine a school’s success rate.

“How do you define success rates?” Roberson asks.

The scorecard allows you to get an estimated annual cost of attending school. The cost of attending Pierce is estimated at $7,970 per year and the cost of California State University, Northridge at $9,339 per year, according to the Scorecard.

One potential outcome of changing the financial aid system is giving students at higher success schools more financial aid. CSUN has nearly double the graduation rate of Pierce according to the Scorecard, because of this the annual cost of attending CSUN could be less than that of Pierce if the administration uses graduation rates to determine the level of financial aid received.

Students at Pierce like Kevin Chau have issues with this plan.

“Shouldn’t all colleges have an equal amount of financial aid to give to their students?” Chau asks.

Pierce student Erick Carranza believes that not all students are the same.

“It’s a hard economy right now and people are trying to get their education, trying to get their degrees, trying to get better jobs… I feel sorry for those kinds who are trying hard at those schools and wont be getting the same amount of money as students at another school would,” Carranza said.

Use the College Scorecard here:

View the press release here:

View the fact sheet here: