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Full-Ride College and University Scholarships - Great Idea or Bad Idea?

Updated on July 8, 2012
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Theresa Ast earned a PhD (Emory) in European History and has taught history for 20 years. "Confronting the Holocaust" available at AMAZON..

Once Upon a Time - the New World
Once Upon a Time - the New World | Source

Genesis of this Article - Perspicacious

Introduction ~~~ Recently, one of our fellow HP authors, Perspicacious, asked me some very thought-provoking questions. I have strong opinions about the questions he posed and my lengthy response is below. However, some declarations and admissions are in order. I have spent the last 18 years of my life teaching History, Interdisciplinary Studies, and Geography at several Georgia universities and colleges. Prior to that I spent twelve years earning Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral degrees.

At the same time I was busily raising three teenage sons, so I was concerned about and involved in their schooling, primary grades through college. So in other words, I have been either in the education system as a student, working with my sons who were students, or working with students in higher education, as a professor for the past thirty years.

Needless to say, I have been paying attention to what works and what doesn’t work in higher education and I have developed some clear principles and ideas about what we can and should do to improve education and lifelong learning in America. Perspicacious’ questions tapped into that reservoir of experience and knowledge.

Perspicacious ~~

What do you think of nationwide exams for the award of full-ride college scholarships?

Would that encourage more attention to academic excellence and preparation for college-level studies as it does in China and Japan?

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The Amazonian Basin in South America | Source

A University Professor's Educated Response

Answer ~~~ I strongly support more funds for additional scholarships, both need based and merit based, but I have qualms about almost any program that is done on a national scale when it could be done at the state level, or state when it could be administered on a county by county basis. Generally speaking (there are occasional exceptions), the larger a program is, the higher a percentage of overall funds get absorbed in the layers and layers of administration and implementation.

So, I much prefer locally administered funds and programs. In the case of public or federal scholarship money, programs administered by each state are preferable. There would probably also be scholarship programs administered by private institutions of higher learning based on private donor contributions and support.

To get to the crux of my response, having worked at both public (4 years) and private (14 years) universities, I do not believe anyone should ever be given a “full-ride college scholarship.” I don’t care how smart you are, what your GPA is, how many sports you play, or how many powerful people your parents know, no full-ride scholarships!

There are several reasons I feel so strongly about this: To begin, I think in 90% of life' situations, we appreciate more, work harder at, and take better care of what we have to pay for or invest in ourselves. How many times have we heard of a son who blows through a generous inheritance, (500,000.00), from his parents and is broke by age 30; but the young man (or woman) who starts with next to nothing and works like crazy to build a small business or start a new company that is valued at 500,000 by age thirty is an entirely different person. With respect to Higher Education, I want to encourage the latter and not facilitate the former.

Facing the Mediterranean  - A Slice of the Middle East
Facing the Mediterranean - A Slice of the Middle East | Source

Mounting Debt - Heavy Work Loads - Exhausted Students

Do I think students should be graduating with 30, 60, 90 thousand dollars in debt. Not at all, I think that is insane and a terrible burden to start life with. Students need to get over this “I deserve to go to a famous, name recognition college with a great football team, and live on campus so I can waste my time and act like an idiot in the dorm.” Parents need to get over the idea that they “should” send their child, who is after all eighteen or nineteen – probably the high tide of poor judgment in human beings, to a ferociously expensive Ivy League school where they will have virtually no supervision, guidance, or rules.”

This is a recipe for disaster for many (not all, of course) students and for many families’ finances. There are so many other choices that don’t involve playing at and then dropping out of school or bankrupting one’s parents or oneself by paying for over-priced tuition. There are hundreds of reasonably priced state and community colleges where one can get an excellent education. Live at home, attend a state or community college, begin your life without a crushing load of debt!

I also think that all students should work a little (10-15 hours a week) even if their parents can foot the whole bill – again we value most what we worked hardest to achieve. Now I oppose what many students do (to avoid incurring too much college debt), working 30-50 hours a week and going to school full-time. That is such a counter-productive approach. Students who do that do not enjoy college or learning; they lack the time to delve into subjects or issues that might be of lifelong interest to them.

They often select the easiest majors and take classes requiring minimal reading and writing; they tend to do as little work as possible to get the grades needed to graduate. They are exhausted, frustrated, cranky, and tend to get sick quite often. I know…my classes are full of them. What student really cares about the joys of learning, or the mysteries of the universe, or the structure of language, or can discover their hidden intellectual passion when they are treading water as fast as they can just to keep their head above the water. It should not be like this.

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The Iberian Peninsula - Portugal and Spain | Source

Unequal Scholarhip Opportunities

If you must work full-time, and sometimes it is a necessity, then it is wise to accept that it may take 6-7 years to complete a 4 year degree, and that is perfectly OK. In fact it is both advisable and admirable. There is considerable evidence that people who work full-time and go to school full-time get seriously ill more often, drop out of college more often, and sadly, have a higher rate of divorce if married. These are very serious consequences to suffer to accomplish in four years what could be done with fewer negative complications in six years.

It took me six years to complete my Bachelor’s degree; I was in my early thirties, worked about ten hours a week and was raising three boys. After I got my BA, I went on for an MA and PhD at a “top 25” university; proof that going slow and being an excellent student pays off - if I had rushed, cut corners, settled for easier classes and lower grades, I would never have been accepted at Emory University. By the way, I had a good scholarship, but also incurred fifteen thousand dollars in debt, which I paid off after working full time for ten years.

So what would I recommend? Well here is what I constantly promote and argue for at the Liberal Arts University where I work. University administrations need to shift some serious scholarship money away from athletics and to academics; in conjunction with the faculty and academic deans, they also need to lower the SAT and GPA requirements for students applying for academic scholarships.

Many average C+ or B- students come into their own in college, discover a discipline they love and end up being outstanding students. For those of you having a hard time with this suggestion, keep in mind that almost all team athletes receive generous scholarships. These scholarships go to many athletes who barely maintained passing grades in high school. So by way of comparison a C- average athletes keeps a scholarship for five years and no one expects then to graduate in four years. Hardly seems fair to be so generous with athletes and so stingy with everyone else.

However, at my university there is a small pool of money available for academic scholarships (chemistry, biology, botany, math, English, political science, history, sociology, religion) and this money is divided among a small group of applicants who must have a 3.5 GPA (out of 4.0), a high SAT score, and they must take an essay exam administered by the discipline faculty. Just in case you were wondering, no, athletes do not have to take any essay exam; as long as they played a sport in high school, they automatically get scholarship money.

Topographical Map of North America
Topographical Map of North America | Source

So the Solution to the Problem Is ?

This may seem far afield from the questions, but here is what we need to do:

(1) If our colleges and universities are to fulfill their intended purpose, which is education after all – not training young people to play a sport, we must offer more scholarships and support to students with academic majors, especially in math and the sciences, especially if we hope to regain our competitive global economic edge.

(2) Community Colleges and State Universities should offer institutional scholarships that cover 25% to 50% of the tuition (Pell Grants are crucial) for many more capable students, as opposed to full-ride scholarship for a small handful of students. When you have five or six bright, interested students in a classroom, instead of one really bright full-ride scholarship student, the entire class becomes energized, learns more, and performs better.

(3) Need should be considered as well as merit. A lot of full-ride scholarship students come from homes where the family can afford the cost of college tuition. Then there are lots of very good students whose families are lower middle and lower income and cannot possibly afford to pay for tuition, and who need some help to get a college education.

(4) We need to strengthen and properly market our state and community colleges. We need to make sure that parents and students realize what an incredible value a degree from a state school is, and they need better information about which majors and degrees lead to which kinds of jobs. Additional job preparation and placement assistance is needed, although many institutions already do a good job at this.

(5) We need to encourage some students to pursue training and certification in a number of fields that lead to decent incomes – not everyone can or should go to college. We need to restructure and rebuild our economy of course to do this – but there is good money in many fields that don’t require a four year degree: carpentry, electrician, plumbing, etc. We are making a big mistake affecting both our children and our economy when we downplay or ignore the importance and necessity of these occupations.


Finally, thinking about China and Japan…I know more about Japan, less about the Chinese educational system. Japanese universities emphasize academics, the arts, music; they are not particularly worried about fielding football, basketball, and baseball teams. They prepare their students for a very competitive world economy. So, they are doing some things exactly right.

However, Japan has an extremely high late teens - early twenties suicide rate – which is strongly correlated with academic achievement or failure. So, no, I don’t think we need to emulate the Japanese approach, which is too intense and too driven. But we could and should do what both China and Japan do, and that is place a much higher social and economic value on traditional academic disciplines and degrees, and provide additional financial support. For a system to study and perhaps emulate, I would look at the German system of higher education, but that is another hub. :)

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    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Hello WhiteWolf - Sorry for the delay in replying. A family member was quite ill and I spent most of four weeks in the hospital with them. You always look at things from interesting and different perspectives.

      Speaking of programs run at the federal level that are inefficient or problematic - I am all for cleaning them up or improving them, but if that doesn't work or there is no will to accomplish that, then I would like to see scholarships administered on a local basis - not all federal aid for education, just scholarships.

      "here I see the problem of a son blowing away the inheritance money. So, my mind will go to solving that problem and not necessarily to say that the son should not inherit the money..." I have no problem with the son inheriting the money - that is a private family matter and you are right, the family should find ways to disburse the funds so that blowing it all right away is not an option. However, scholarships are national and public matters and involve our tax money and in America (I can't speak for other nations or govt's) there is a problem of the very few getting excellent support and the many getting next to nothing at all. I want that to change.

      I do expect the football team will be after me. :) Now soccer, I would protect their scholarships. :)

      It is so amazing and disturbing to read "dictatorial regime, but education was free." And we talk about being a free people and we do not come close to supporting educations. How strange and contradictory the world is.

      Please feel free...I always enjoy and learn from your strange tangents. Thanks for reading and commenting. Take care. ~~Theresa

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      "Generally speaking (there are occasional exceptions), the larger a program is, the higher a percentage of overall funds get absorbed in the layers and layers of administration and implementation." - I see many people who talk about problems with administration, accountability and transparency in many different areas of public service within our societies. Education being one of those examples.

      So, from what I perceive many people think that because there are administrative problems at the federal level, that means having programs at the federal level is a bad idea. The examples are many here, we can talk about the Obama care, or education, etc. Yet, I think that if there are problems with administration (as one example) then, those problems must be looked at: investigated, analyzed and solved. I am not of the opinion that because I encounter a problem, I should walk away from a project ...

      "How many times have we heard of a son who blows through a generous inheritance" - Again, here I see the problem of a son blowing away the inheritance money. So, my mind will go to solving that problem and not necessarily to say that the son should not inherit the money ... that is just my perception.

      "University administrations need to shift some serious scholarship money away from athletics and to academics" - Be careful here (haha), You may have the football team chasing You around campus with such initiatives ... (joking). : )

      Well, I think You have a balanced approach to the issue of cost and funding of post secondary education. I do not fully agree with it, as I was brought-up in a dictatorial regime where school was free of charge all the way to the university level. I do indeed think that education should be free - just as information is free, just as I write here on Hub-pages for free and so on ... only us humans (out of all nature's creatures) have invented this thing called money and we started giving value to things ... as if things have monetary value (lol). How much am I worth per hour, or per month, or per year? Haha ... I am price-less ... I can't indulge much in wages and numbers when it comes to Life.

      Alrighty, I will be quiet now before I go on some completely strange tangents.

      Thank You for the read Mrs. Theresa.

      Cheers! : )

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Hello Wesley - Thanks for reading and leaving a comment. Sorry for the delay in responding - I have a family member in the hospital. I find your comments about Chinese education interesting...and you should certainly know. How tragic that their education system reflects apathy and corruption. I will keep your observations in mind. Hope your week has gone well. Theresa

    • Wesley Meacham profile image

      Wesley Meacham 5 years ago from Wuhan, China

      Very interesting. You make some valid points. On the subject of Chinese education... I don't believe that schools in America should in any way shape or form resemble Chinese institutions. I've lived in China for two years now. Why I'm still here is a little uncertain. From what I've been able to understand the Chinese system has little to nothing to do with merit or academic ability. Chinese schools reflect the culture that they've been born from, which sadly is wide spread apothy and coruption.

      Voted up and shared.

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia


      You are correct. College tuition and costs have gone up (some good reasons, some foolish and unnecessary reasons), but everyone forgets that in the same time perio, the federal govt and the state govts support for higher education have been substantially reducedover the l.ast 15 to 20 years. It is a terrible peoblem and people, both students and parents are taking on such terrible debt loads. This trend does and will lead to a more stratified and unbalanced society.

      Thanks so much for your thoughtful comments. Hope your week is going well. :)

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 5 years ago from California

      Interesting Theresa---and I guess I concur on a number of points. We are just about finished putting our second child through college--and took out loans to do so. Both children worked and my husband and I both work. I have three post BA degrees.

      My concern is that financial aid, even in the form of loans, seems to be decreasing, at least in California. As such, my concern is that we are increasing becoming a stratified society, where the wealthy can afford education and the poor cannot.

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      RunningDeer - I am so sorry about your heaping piles of debt. It is such a hardship and especially in this bad economy. I think you are right, often parents and students don't fully realize what the debt load will be at the end. Students should work and there should be more scholarships, especially need based ones. The budget cuts to education are terribly dismaying. :( Thanks so much for your thoughtful comments.

    • RunningDeer profile image

      RunningDeer 5 years ago from Iowa

      As one of those students who is starting life with heaping piles of debt, I agree with a lot of what you said. College needs to be a lot more affordable. Parents do blindly send their 18 year olds off to school, and the kids truly don't understand yet that this implies mountains of debt. Kids should also work a little during school. I worked my entire way through college, and I'm paying for all my own college. I like the idea of more scholarships. We really segregate those. Lots of middle class people fall to the sidelines when scholarships are handed out. I also agree that not everyone is made for four year universities, and should go to tech schools or apprenticeships. But the big issue, is college should be more affordable!! Let's quit doing budget cuts to education or it's going to nip us in the butt later!

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Natashalh - You' re so right, where you get your undergraduate degree has so little impact on your life or long term income. South Carolina has a great higher education system. Good for you - winning the top state scholarship.. And you are a great example that it is possible to graduate debt free and what a wonderful way to start tour life and career.

      I agree making reasonable choices is essential, being saddled with unmanageble debt is not. I would never have considered Emory except that they offered me a full scholarship for four years (there is no way I would have taken out a loan for 80,000 dollars.) I was raising three boys at the time and my house burned down in the middle of my fourth year, so it did take me five years to finish. But I graduated with only 15,000 dollars in debt, not too shabby for an MA and PhD. :) So, I cannot complain. Thanks for your great comments and insights. :)

    • Natashalh profile image

      Natasha 5 years ago from Hawaii

      I agree that students need to get over the idea of how college "should be." I think part of college is meeting people and learning about yourself, etc., but there's a difference between partying every night and socializing reasonably! Also, where you go to undergrad has so little impact on your future. I forget the numbers, but within a few years, people who went to a lcoal school or to an Ivy League make the same. It's what you put in to it that counts!

      I am lucky. South Carolina offers good state scholarships for its too students. Because of my hard work in high school, I recieved the top state scholarship and additional money from my school. I graduated with a 3.99 while working almost full time my senior year (I worked at least some the entire time I was in school). As a result, I graduated debt-free, but it wasn't easy. It wouldn't have been possible, at all, if I'd insisted on going to Duke or Emory. I could have attended either, but I'd be paying loans until I retire. Sometimes you just have to, as you said, get over some of your ideas about where you should be entitled to go to school!

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Hi teaches - I would love to see more state scholarships, too. It is the best use of taxpayer money when it comes to education. Good for your son. More students should do what he did. It really is amazing what a real job can do to help a teenager grow up and become serious about their studies. Thanks for your generous cmments. :0

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Thank you John, you are always encouraging. It is an important issue to me, and it was when I was a parent with three teenage boys, so I am particularly glad to hear you describe it as powerful. And the great thing is, there really are alternatives. People in their early twenties should not graduate saddled with enormous and crushing debt.

      It took me ten years to pay off my college loans and all I owed for my PhD was fifteen thousand. Emory covered the sixty thousand in tuition and I won two competitive stipends that helped with books and research expenses. If I had had to face the debt that students face today, I would have stopped after my Bachelors. That kind of debt frightens me and it should frighten them. Sorry for going on for so long and thanks again for commenting. Theresa

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Good evening aethelthryth. Thank you for your comments. Nobody worked 30-50 hours a week when I was in college either. early seventies and then late eighties. I have been amazed though, this last ten years at the number of my students who are holding down full-time jobs and attempting to go to college full time. A few of them if they live at home, have no spouse or children. can manage it, just barely...and by gritting their teeth and having no family life.

      The ones who are in their own apartment or home and who have a family, crash and burn on a regular basis, every couple of semesters. They fail a course (still have to pay back the student loan), trash their GPA which affects thir ability to get financial aid, often git very sick, and even drop out for a semester or year or longer. It really is just awful. I absolutely agree with you that students who have had some real work experience, ROTC, etc., are more appreciate of their education, are better time managers, and tend to do quite well.

      Good for you. Keep looking. Their are some good schools that do not cost an arm and a leg. And emphasizing math and science is the right thing to do to be competitive in our economy. Thanks again for your comments. :)

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      You have presented a well organized argument for your platform. I would love to see more academic scholarships offered at the state level. So many students would benefit. My son attended his college on a full scholarship program due to his academic performance. He would not have been able to attend otherwise. It was a blessing. He also worked part-time to supplement his needs. As you said, it made him more determined and focused on his career.

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Hey shining - I cannot imagine how hard that must have been. We need to find a balance. Students shouldn't get a free ride, but students shouldn't have to work as much as you did. We need some change in our higher education system. Thanks for stopping by and for your comments. Hope you are having a great week. :)

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Hello tireless - I was not aware of the class shortage in CA -- wonder what is going on with their education system? You make a good point. Many college in many states are having to start freshmen in remedial math and English classes because they weren't required to learn the basics in high school.

      Your nephew and husband are great examples of late but strong bloomers. I love having older adults in my classes. They are more focused, have had some life experience and make terrific students. Thanks for your comments.

    • John Sarkis profile image

      John Sarkis 5 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      Hi Theresa, and what a powerful and concise hub you've written. I especially like how you offer some alternatives to the problem of higher education.

      Great job!


    • aethelthryth profile image

      aethelthryth 5 years ago from American Southwest

      I didn't know anyone in college who worked the 30-50 hours per week that you mention - probably because where I went was so expensive that even full-time work wouldn't have made much of a dent in costs. But the handful I knew who were working a little bit (or had a year in the "real world" first, or were in ROTC, which was sort of like an extra job) considered college an important opportunity to work hard for, as compared to four more years of adolescence.

      I think my years of college had some value, but not nearly as much as was paid (and not by me) for them. The name of the school has been a help to me in looking for jobs, but name-dropping is about all it is. Nobody has cared about my grades (not so good) since my first job.

      I am looking into many other alternatives for my children to find something that teaches them more (in math and science, no less) and costs less - and I do think I will find something.

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Why Frank, I do not know what to think. This is the longest comment you have ever made on one of my hubs. :) Not that you don't always convey a great deal in somewhat briefer comments. :) I love the names of the associations that would hand out all the free rides...Dollars for Scholars, DreamkeepersSM, and Scholarship Management Services. You may have missed your calling, maybe you should be in advertising and be one of these people who come up with catchy titles and brand names. Wait... were you, are you in advertising? :)

      In all seriousness, most colleges and universities don't set that much aside for scholarships unfortunately and competition is pretty fierce. I still wish thy would give twice as many people half as much money.... I guess my problem with scholarships is like my problem with the lottery. I don't play the lottery, but I might if instead og one winning ticket worth one million, there were 400 winning tickets of twenty-five thousand.

      I would love to improve 400 families lives by 25,000, especially because we know that people who get really large payouts often end up in trouble or broke within a few years. Boy this is like the tangent to end all tangents. Sorry. Thank you for your generous and interesting comments. Theresa

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Interesting point Kathleen --- at least football attempts to give its football players an education. That thinking is hard to change...I encouraged my three sons toward certificates and two year training programs -- at 18 and 19 they didn't have the discipline or focus to do well in college.

      You are a great example of someone who struggled, worked to pay for college. It was a tough struggle and a partial scholarship could have made a huge difference for you.

      There does seem to be a racket or collusion between textbook producers and college administration. There is no excuse for the rate of increase in tuition in the last 20 years.

      Part of that money goes to services - counselors, mental health experts, etc -(more students are going to college and they are arriving with some pretty serious emotional and mental problems; part of it goes to sports that do not pay their own way; part of it goes to generous administrative salaries (average faculty salary with Doctorate is 50,000); part goes to gorgeous, as opposed to functional buildings; part of it goes to bring in one or two prestigious faculty with name recognition who pull salaries between 100-200,000.

      Unfortunately many universities are more focused on status and prestige, and less on making college affordable for students and their parents. It is a travesty. Thanks so much for your comments. Theresa

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 5 years ago from Upstate, New York

      The toll damage this causes is all too familiar. I can still clearly recall my struggle through college while holding down several job.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 5 years ago from California

      With two in college this topic occupies my thoughts routinely. Currently in CA the availability of classes is almost non existent. There is something happening here that is profoundly disturbing. Looking at the school catalog there seem to be fewer classes than when I went to the same school 30 years ago. The school is five times bigger as well.

      Part of the difficulty in CA is colleges and universities are having to educate students on subject they should have learned K-12.

      You are so correct about students coming into their own in college. A friends nephew just graduated from med school. He had to spend 3 years in community college floundering around before he decided he liked science.

      My own dear husband barely graduated from high school , but got straight A's in college.

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Good morning Sue. I think the policy of two classes per semester relevant to one's current or future duties is quite generous. I know a fair number of people with similar educational opportunities provided by their employers.

      Isn't it amazing, some are appreciative and some feel entitled. I wonder if it has a lot to do with how you were raised, your family and home environment?

      I am glad you liked the Hub and the Video. ThePianoGuys are a recent discovery of mine and I like their lighter/funnier music as well as their more serious/classical stuff. Its funny...there is a tone (a musical Freudian slip? I meant "ton" of course) of junk on YouTube, but there is also some incredible music I would never have known about without YouTube.

      The weekend was good and now we dive into our work week. :) Blessings.


    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 5 years ago from Shelton

      Again Phdast you stimulate with your hubs.. Full Ride..hmm.. Worrying about paying for college is troublesome for most.. I like the Idea of the Full Ride.. but where would the money come from? Will it come from a national organization that helps students get into and graduate from college through three core programs: Dollars for Scholars, DreamkeepersSM, and Scholarship Management Services... will it come from large donors from the private sector.. Like Coca-Cola.. ESPN.. ext.. I'm saying this because Full-Ride is so ideal for students and parents because the students will get a combination of meeting new friends, joining clubs, or playing sports, and of course attending compelling, interesting classes that will prepare you for a successful life..without worrying about the pay-back program.. and the parents wouldn't have to mortgage their hard work to pay for the education. There are the lucky few parents who can flip the bill but not many...While there aren't that many private full-tuition scholarships available, the good news is that many colleges offer full-ride scholarships to students who meet specific criteria... that being said.. life is filled with so many different challenges.. not many students can fall into the needed critera.. let me stop before I run out of space on your hub.. again thanks for the great share PHDAST

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      It is interesting to hear this issue discussed by someone inside academia who can speak to all sides. People always complain about college football but one thing to consider is that it is at least one sport that does not recruit from high school (like baseball and basketball) dumping old athletes into the adult world with no higher education at all. That certainly doesn't redeem all the ills that go with that business that is actually only a degree removed from human trafficing.

      I'd also point out that people are always saying other people's kids should go to technical school and bypass college but usually they want their own kids to have the advantage of a traditional degree. Don't know how to change that thinking.

      And last, as someone who did work, ate canned ravioli, and took five years to get a degree at a state university, thank you for pointing out the toll it takes and the devaluing it does to the education. When someone tells me, I'm sure you appreciate it more, I want to tell them I'd apprecicate it just as much if I could have had the time it takes to make A's instead of settling for B's because there are only so many hours in a day.

      Part of why students graduate with so much debt is the racket that is going on within university systems that extort the price of textbooks, charge on-site fees for online courses, and figured out at some point that they could make more money per student if they found ways to keep them from graduating in four years and stretch it out to five, six or seven years. After sending three children to a total of six universities, I'm convinced these practices take place and are part of the university system's business plan.

      Up and useful

    • profile image

      Sueswan 5 years ago

      Hi Theresa,

      I agree that full ride scholarships are not a good idea and not everyone should or needs to go to college or university.

      I am the administrator of our Continuing Education Financial Assistance Program where I work.

      Employees are eligible to take courses offered through a college or university's continued education faculty that are directly related to their current position or to a position to which they would logically aspire within the organization. They must provide examples of how they will apply their knowledge.

      They are entitled to take a maximum of two courses per semester. If they want to take more than 2 courses, then they will not be reimbursed for those courses.

      Most employees are appreciative of the program and the opportunity to continue their education but there are others who have such a sense of entitlement.

      Once an employee asked me why we would not pay for him to go to school full time. I told him that we were not in the education business.

      Most of our retail employees are part time and do not get many hours. That may not be fair but that is reality. Some feel because they are not getting the hours that the company owes them.

      A great hub Theresa. I enjoyed the video too.

      Voted up and awesome.

      Hope you are enjoying your Sunday :)

      Take care


    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Exactly! You have stated in perfectly. The faculty think they have lost their minds. We are on the outskirts of Atlanta and their are many large and prestigious universities who will, and do, profit from football. I think we are fated to "rise to insignificance." I am so glad that I worked so hard to achieve tenure eight years ago. If we get into financial trouble, a quick administrative fix is to fire full-time faculty and replace then with adjuncts, who are paid dirt and get no benefits (and sadly, there are lots of them who cannot find full-time positions). As a tenured full professor, they can't touch me unless I shoot someone in a public place and then brag about it in the classroom while serving the students alcohol! Tenure is a sort of strange and terrible comfort. :(

    • arb profile image

      arb 5 years ago from oregon

      Can't understand how a 1200 enrollment will garnish the kind of talent that will put you on the map and needless to say, small institutions are lucky if a single game is televised. Such a program at such an institution may be popular with the students, but, it will tax the coffers and the program will rise to insignifigance. Best of luck!

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      Theresa Ast 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Alan - Thank you so much for reading and taking the time to comment. And I do understand the difference between and the need for a reality based opinion versus a morally based opinion about athletic scholarships. There is incredible revenue generated by a few University athletic programs. I can certainly understand the attraction of capitalist endeavors and the difficulty of foregoing that income stream....

      But there is a secret… Boards of Trustees often demand sports programs for the status and prestige they create, not for a guaranteed positive income stream. In the past ten years I have read several well researched and written articles indicating that the majority of small and medium sized colleges and universities do not make money off their sports programs. Some manage to break even, and when the financial accounting is done properly, other institutions actually lose money.

      This means that funds to cover the loss have to be pulled from donor contributions or the general operating expenses of the institution. Of course that results in less money dedicated to the academic side of the institution, eg., fewer full-time professors, less money devoted to libraries and laboratories, and of course fewer and smaller disciplinarily-based scholarships for the majority of students.

      Not surprisingly, university administrations seldom broadcast this information - they know that sports are popular and attract a certain kind of corporate donor; a successful sports programs, teams that win championships represent status and prestige. Sports are the coin of the realm for many Trustees who sit on College and University Boards. I know because for five years, as Vice Chair and Chair of the Faculty, I sat in meetings with them and listened to what they promoted and advocated for, and I noted which initiatives (academic) they ignored and sidelined. No pun intended, it was an incredible education.

      So, I do not disagree with you about why sports programs, in particular football, are added to many institutions , but I think the general public is poorly informed (and not accidentally) as to which sports programs make money and how many football programs are being generously subsidized. After five years of discussion and clear faculty opposition, our Trustees last year voted to field a foot ball team.

      We already had men’s and women’s baseball, basketball, tennis, golf, cross country, soccer, and rowing (can’t think of the word for this) and we only have 1200 students! Football will supposedly put us on the map (status, name recognition), but it costs a small fortune to field a team.

      With a very heavy heart I am watching the changes to our campus and our culture. Maybe I will write on this again in the future as our program takes shape. Thank you for your positive and encouraging comments “too many wonderful points in your hub” is of course, music to my ears. :)


    • arb profile image

      arb 5 years ago from oregon

      Great hub Theresa, as always. I am in total agreement with all of your suppositions with one exception. I will preface the exception by stating that I have a reality based opinion about athetic scholarships and a completely opposed moral based opinion. The incredible revenue generated by successful programs could pay the national debt of some small countries. In order to get a slice of the pie, programs must compete to get the crem de la crem. Colledge sports is as big a business in America as some large corporations and especially so in an age of expanded television revenue. Obviously, our universities should be focused on academics, but, money makes our world go round. Can't envision how schools will ever part with this revenue. Every point you make I applaude and do so, even with the inequity between sports and academia. Capitalism has gone to school and graduated at the top of its class. Anyway, too many wonderful points in your hub to ramble on about sports. Voted up and everything else. (: