Middle Class Scholarship needs to stay

Illustration by Hayden Senter

This country’s idea of a middle-class family is really skewed.

Take my family for example. For my first two Free Applications for Federal Student Aid, I was denied scholarships and most grants due to my family’s “middle-class” status.

Truthfully, my parent’s have always had problems making ends meet.

My stepfather owns his own business that doesn’t bring in any income, which makes my mother the sole provider of our family.

Despite our small income, it wasn’t until the Middle Class Scholarship was introduced that I was able to receive some financial aid other than loans.

This is mostly because of the way that income is classified here in the United States.

While the federal government has a distinct poverty line for all fifty states, $19,790 for a family of three, excluding Alaska and Hawaii, there are no set perameters for a middle-class income.

So a family of three that makes an annual income of around $40,000 is considered to be in the same income level as a family making $75,000 annually.

This is why it’s so hard for many students to gain access to different financial aid opportunities, and why it’s essential that the state Senate not deconstruct and redistribute the Middle Class Scholarship funds.

While it’s indisputable that many other students would benefit from the redistribution of the funds from this scholarship, I can’t help but feel upset.

This scholarship was designed to help students like me who have little to no opportunity to crawl out from the overbearing shadow of loans because their parents make too much money in the eyes of the government.

Now, the Senate wants to take that opportunity away from us since we apparently don’t need help. But are allowed to rack up thousands of dollars in debt every semester.

How about this: instead of the Senate reallocating these funds, how about they let me have my no-strings-attached aid so that I won’t graduate with more than $40,000 in debt while my mom can’t retire because she supports my whole family?

Or, both the federal and state government should work on actually defining what sort of income a middle-class family is supposed to have in today’s expensive society so that people who aren’t really middle class can have equal financial aid opportunity.

Until there’s an actual income bracket for what’s actually a middle-class family, this scholarship needs to remain in place because too many students suffer from this lack of definition.

Lower middle-class students have been shunned financially by the government for too long and shouldn’t be anymore.

Despite their parents’ income, every student matters.

Megan Mann can be reached at [email protected] or @meganisthemann on Twitter.