Masters Thesis

Student need, budget challenges and California's Middle-Class Scholarship (MCS)

This paper analyzes the impact of the Middle-Class Scholarship by detailing who receives the scholarship and in what amount. This leads further into analyzing the impact of reduced or increased student debt at graduation, the relationship that debt has on future economic growth, the correlation between education and economic mobility, and the need to further expand the scholarship rather than eliminating it. The paper details inefficiencies in the California budget and how those inefficiencies can be addressed to free up more money in the budget to fund the Middle-Class Scholarship. It is recommended that the state of California adopt certain programs and initiatives to make higher education more affordable and attainable to ensure a better educated and more qualified work force for years to come. The first of these is the expansion of the Middle-Class Scholarship to reduce the debt load on students who are hit hardest by the ever-increasing costs of higher education. Second, this paper delves into the need to make community college free for all students to act as both a gateway to the university systems and as a stepping stone to more lucrative careers. Finally, there is a striking lack of financial education. Too few students and parents understand how financial aid is awarded, how college budgeting works, and the impact of loans and student debt on delaying major life decisions following graduation.

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