This chapter reviews the overall structure of the US financial aid system and the way in which students from underrepresented groups deal with the cost of participating in higher education. Case studies of students from underrepresented groups are used to illustrate the type of problems experienced, including financial loan guilt, economic divisions amongst undergraduates and balancing employment with full-time undergraduate study. It is noted that financial aid only factors in tuition and housing costs, but does not take account of the need to participate in the ‘student experience’. Restricted finances mean that some students are unable to take part fully in social activities or purchase books, all of which are thought to be part of the typical undergraduate experience. Thus, despite efforts to widen participation, the concept of ‘college for all’ can be considered an illusion (Glass & Nygreen, 2011) because universities fail to acknowledge the class and racial hierarchies that shape the culture, an aspect that financial aid alone cannot remove.
Friend, K. (2018), "The Price of University: Economic Capital and the Experience of Underrepresented Students in an Elite US University", Riddell, S., Minty, S., Weedon, E. and Whittaker, S. (Ed.) Higher Education Funding and Access in International Perspective (Great Debates in Higher Education), Emerald Publishing Limited, pp. 199-222. https://doi.org/10.1108/978-1-78754-651-620181011Download as .RIS
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