Because most colleges and universities are public institutions created by state and local governments, federalism has direct consequences for the students who attend them. State and local governments provide most of the funding for colleges and universities, but almost everyone agrees that this funding is inadequate. In response to this problem, the national government has stepped in to support postsecondary education programs.
One could argue that the federal government makes it possible for many students to attend college at all because it is the primary source of financial aid. The federal government provides about $160 billion in financial assistance (including grants, loans, and work-study assistance) to more than 50 million college students each year. Nearly two-thirds of all full-time undergraduates receive some form of financial aid from the federal government.
The federal government also provides several billion dollars of direct grants to colleges and universities across the nation. Billions more in federal funds support research and training in certain areas, especially science and engineering--which receive about $32 billion a year. The libraries, laboratories, and the buildings in most colleges and universities have benefited from federal government grants.
Each year the federal government provides about 10% of the revenue for public universities and 15% for private, not-for-profit colleges and universities. Few colleges and universities could withstand a 10 or 15 percent cut and the loss of most of the financial assistance for their students.
Read the article at the link below, then respond to the following questions.
Loans now, headaches later
Questions to consider:
a. Considering the budget deficits that the federal government is facing, should the states pick up more of the cost of its colleges and universities? Can the government mandate lower tuition without providing funding to the schools that need to now lower their rates?
b. Should college be more affordable for all students? If so, how should states raise the money to keep all of the programs that make the college unique while keeping costs down?
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