NPR aired a piece by Eric Westervelt on 25 March titled “Decoding College Financial Aid” (8:18) in their “Paying for College” series.
Many high school seniors are hearing from colleges about admissions and financial aid. Scott Juedes, director of Student Financial Services at Wellesley College, gives tips on decoding aid offers.
A companion text piece “Some Common Misconceptions About Paying For College” lays out some useful information the reporter learned while doing the story:
In reporting on students navigating the maze of college costs and financial aid, I kept running into misconceptions about paying for a degree. Here are some of the most common ones:
Low-income students get most of their college financial aid needs met and rich kids don’t have to worry, so it’s mainly the middle class that gets squeezed.
It’s a common misperception and “it’s simply not true,” says Lauren Asher, president of The Institute for College Access and Success, an independent, nonprofit research and advocacy group. Take Pell Grants, which go to low- and moderate-income families. A majority of Pell recipients are families with incomes under $50,000 a year. Those students “are much more likely to have loans and to owe more when they graduate from a four-year school than all other students,” she says.
Related Stories on Financial Aid and Cost of College
NPR piece by Gloria Hillard – November 18, 2013
Many veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are taking advantage of GI benefits to pay for higher education. But most are looking at large state schools or for-profit and online universities. Now, a new scholarship program in California focuses on veterans whose experiences and talents are better suited for smaller private liberal arts colleges.
Robert Smith had a piece (“Sept. 11 Families Want Confidential Files Released“) on NPR’s Morning Edition today that dovetails nicely with a number of posts that have appeared here* on the relationship between courts and the information order. Our argument has been that courts play a role in enacting an important relational component of equality in a democracy: under certain circumstances, formal equals cannot arbitrarily withhold information from one another.
The three remaining plaintiffs are arguing that materials they’ve obtained during the discovery phase of their trial — materials about airline and airport security on 9/11 — should be made public. The defendants are claiming that the material is meant for “the lawyers’ eyes only.”
The case reminds us of the informational role played by courts and civil litigation. As generic members of the public who happened to have been singled out by having a relative killed on 9/11 these plaintiffs are exercising their formal informational equality before the court. They get to say “tell us what you know about that day” and the usually much more powerful organizations are not allowed, in this forum, to say, “we don’t have to tell you.”
Now the question is whether their right to ask (and be answered) is tied to their formal status as equals before the court as a place where information “comes to light,” or whether it’s interpreted in strictly transactional terms — since their lawsuit requires the information, they may see it, but the other party gets to maintain its right to say “we don’t have to tell you” to the public at large.
Even apart from how the judge rules on the contest between the public interest of disclosure and the private interest of confidentiality here, in light of the frenzied demand for “confidential corporate information” from the bailed out insurer AIG in recent weeks, we might remind ourselves that the airlines received a pretty hefty bailout from the taxpayers after 9/11. Perhaps they’ll want to be careful about how vigorously they argue that the public does not have the right to know.
*See these posts:
- “Equality, Information and the Courts Redux: The Dan Rather Report,”
- “Democracy and the Information Order,”
- “Courts and the Information Order,”
- “Suing for Information“
- Hadfield, Gillian. 2009. “Framing the Choice Between Cash and the Courthouse: Experiences With the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund.” Law & Society Review, Volume 42, Issue 3 (p 645-682)
- Hadfield, Gillian and Dan Ryan. “Democracy and the Information Order” (unpublished draft)
- Weiser, Benjamin. “Value of Suing Over 9/11 Deaths Is Still Unsettled.” New York Times, March 12, 2009.