EWU financial aid hurts students and their wallets

By Mikayla Lundeen, EWU Freshman

Financial aid is supposed to give all students access to education. However, my experience with the financial aid office has revealed many flaws in the system.

For one, my parent’s income is not my income. No matter how much my parent’s make, they have no obligation to give me any of it.

Ten years ago, my dad wanted to take responsibility for providing for his family, so he went back to school to get a degree. His decision to pursue a higher education and a skilled job is the reason I don’t qualify for any financial aid.

Sounds a little backwards, right? Sadly, the system teaches that working hard yields less reward.

Secondly, students are using their financial aid to pay for trips.

I recently paid full price to go on a short EWU study abroad trip to Costa Rica. When I got there, I discovered that many people went on the trip not because they were interested in learning, but because they could go free of charge.

“Mikayla, do you plan on going on next year’s trip?” “Sadly, no … I don’t think I can afford it.”

“Oh, I forgot. You paid.”

Lastly, financial aid makes it possible for some students to take tests like the GRE for free, but not others.

I recently visited the financial aid office because my GRE instructor told me that EWU has test fee waivers for students. What was I told? “I’m sorry, we do offer waivers for the GRE, but unfortunately, your expected family contribution is too much, so we can’t give you one.”

Looks like that $200 is coming from my pocket too.

Financial aid is great in giving other students a chance, but not at the expense of hurting others. Something about this system needs to change.