Private colleges, public aid

Michigan has spent more than $1 billion in federal anti-poverty money on college scholarships and grants since 2007, much of it going to middle- or higher-income students attending pricier private schools. Because costs there are higher than at public universities – with tuition at some exceeding $40,000 – many more affluent families qualified for the aid. These 10 schools had the widest gap between the percent of in-state students getting aid (generally high) and the percent of poor students on campus (often far lower) during the 2013-14 school year.

Note: Students getting welfare aid is the percent of in-state students who received a Michigan Competitive Scholarship or a Michigan Tuition Grant. Median family income is for all families that received federal financial aid, including student loans. Poor students on campus are the percent of all students awarded a Pell Grant, given to students with the lowest family incomes, usually below $20,000.

Slideshow: Private colleges, public aid

Facts matter. Trust matters. Journalism matters.

If you learned something from the story you're reading please consider supporting our work. Your donation allows us to keep our Michigan-focused reporting and analysis free and accessible to all. All donations are voluntary, but for as little as $1 you can become a member of Bridge Club and support freedom of the press in Michigan during a crucial election year.

Pay with VISA Pay with MasterCard Pay with American Express Donate now

Comment Form

Add new comment

Dear Reader: We value your thoughts and criticism on the articles, but insist on civility. Criticizing comments or ideas is welcome, but Bridge won’t tolerate comments that are false or defamatory or that demean, personally attack, spread hate or harmful stereotypes. Violating these standards could result in a ban.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.


William Plumpe
Tue, 10/04/2016 - 11:31am
It would be interesting to know what type of income tests the private colleges use to screen applicants for financial aid. Since they appear to be almost exclusively private religious oriented schools they may be able to provide student aid as they wish to whom they wish regardless of proven economic need. They may even show a bias in favor of certain students to receive financial aid who really don't need it because of the student's religious affiliation or alumni contacts. And because they accept little or no public money their records are probably not open to public inspection. Could this be a case of public money being used to advance religious education? This is something that needs to be checked out.
V Art
Sun, 10/09/2016 - 7:51pm
I don't know a lot about how these programs work. I do know that in Michigan public dollars cannot go to religious based schools. While charter schools can receive state & federal aid, parochial schools may not. We are seeing more instances of bias against religious institutions than benefits going to them.
Tue, 02/14/2017 - 11:55am

The fact that charter schools get state and federal money and private schools dont is not "bias" against religion. Charter School are financed with public dollars because they are, technically, public schools. A Charter School is a public scholl that is run by a private organization. That organization may be a for-profit or a non-profit organization, and the school must follow all of the same rules of any other public school. Private schools dont have to follow those same rules. Public schools, including charter schools can not charge any tuition. Private schools can. And public schools , including charter schools, can not teach or promote religion, that would, of course, violate the constitution.

I think that you understand that the government can not start giving money to religious organizations. That rule exists to protect religion from undo influence from the governmant, and to protect the government from undo influence from any one religion. As we have seen in politics where politicians are unduly influenced by corporate money, government money in religion would have a debilitating affect on religion. Religious leaders, like Dr.KIng, have often been the facilitators of major social change. This is because their livelihood is not tied to government or corporate influence. That would be lost if the government started controlling the purse strings.

Tue, 10/04/2016 - 3:41pm
Why are more exclusive colleges getting state aid for students. I thought state aid was for low income students
Wed, 10/05/2016 - 11:17pm
oscar, How many [adult] students do you know that have the knowledge and skills to earn anything more that a 'poverty' level income? My best guess is that if an adult only has a high school diploma and they are living on their own that they would meet the low income criteria. Do you know many recent high school grads that are earning above the low income threshold? Or do you believe that a child should always live in their parents 'basement'? I believe we have a law that defines adulthood [18, right to vote] as the legal point that a child becomes responsible for their lives, their education, their living.
Fri, 02/10/2017 - 11:38pm

Many years ago (1996-1998) my daughters graduated from high school with gpa's of 3.5 or better. I was a single parent working as a secretary and receiving minimal child support. My children were not eligible for any grants, only student loans. At the time my take home pay was less than $25K per year but they did not qualify for any financial help.