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The other problem of financing higher education

The federal government’s student debt cancellation plan has attracted a lot of attention. This is controversial because many people have chosen to forgo college and its costs, or have paid off their college debts. For example, I joined the US Army to pay off my undergraduate debt. Regardless of people’s views on canceling student debt, after many students graduate from high school in the coming weeks, they will face another dilemma related to higher education funding. when they go to college. This issue relates to the course loads that students often have to complete to qualify for many forms of educational assistance.

Although the funding system for higher education in our country is not straightforward, it often happens that students must register to take at least 12 credits (usually four courses worth 3 credit hours each for a full course load) to receive substantial aid. federal or state government.

This policy is suitable for students who, like me when I was in college, do not work many hours per week beyond the time devoted to their college studies. In fact, research shows that taking a full charge can help with retention and reduce the time spent pursuing studies.

However, according to researchers from Temple University and the City University of New York, taking a full course load can create significant problems for students with more complicated lives. For example, if students are working at a job more than 30 hours a week, fitting a full course load into their life can be problematic.

These research findings are consistent with what I have seen in my professional experience since I started teaching full-time students in 2007. Sometimes these students are busy caring for sick parents, raising children or siblings, or working full time. jobs and play that graduating quickly matters more than a genuine record of academic commitment and excellence.

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For students with these formidable extracurricular responsibilities, the full course load requirement for many forms of financial aid becomes a one-size-fits-all, constricting straitjacket they wear before they can slip into a cap and gown to graduation. As a result, these students often struggle academically and end up with health issues that could have been avoided had they been allowed greater discretion based on their understanding of their own particular circumstances. Sure, students can often sign up for a class or two and pay out of pocket up front, but they’re often tempted to bite off more than they can chew if they can defer the costs of doing so to the future.

Although allowing students greater flexibility to take less than a full course load would likely result in fewer full-time students, it seems likely that the overall demand for credit hours would not decline. due to increased demand for students better able to pay for part-time credit hourly charges with greater government assistance.

Fortunately, other government programs are not as restrictive. For example, I used my veterans benefits to help me buy a house, but I can imagine the insane choices it might encourage if we could only get help buying houses with monthly payments. more important than it would be wise to adopt. In such cases, veterans would be tempted to take on more than they could afford.

As a first generation college graduate, I am particularly concerned about these students. I remember parents insisting on getting a college degree like a winning lottery ticket.

In reality, performance in courses and internships is important not only for the acquisition of knowledge or skills, but also for how strong performance and letters of recommendation can facilitate important employment opportunities. I knew it, but it seems too many students don’t.

When students don’t recognize this reality, they can graduate, but without the kind of job prospects that will allow them to earn enough to easily pay off the student debt they voluntarily incurred.

Dr. Paul Vasquez has taught political science and international relations at the University of Central Florida since 2011.

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