For many, the ability to receive a college education is essential for prosperity within our current economy. However, due to the recent budget passed by the North Carolina general assembly, an estimated 6,000 qualified students may not receive government aid to assist in their college endeavors. Eradicating this aid will undoubtedly hinder the ability of many North Carolinians to receive a college education, threatening the competitive ability our future generation in North Carolina’s workforce.
Lawmakers have reduced need-based aid for the UNC system by 22% in the final budget. While assistance for low-income students is diminishing, costs of tuition and educational expenses are rising. This not only decreases the ability of North Carolina’s universities to find and maintain the top students, but punctuates the negative effects of wealth inequities within our state. Moreover, creating financial barriers burdens many qualified, low-income students while dictating who can receive a bachelor’s degree on the basis of monetary wealth.
Need-based aid assists those who exemplify the ability to succeed at a university, but struggle to pay through no fault of their own. The importance, or as many would argue, necessity of a college degree is embedded into the minds of most North Carolinians. Our lawmakers owe our future generation the accessibility to an affordable college education. Without this, our state will continue to fall farther behind.