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Finally, Some Tuition Relief For California’s Middle-Class Students

June 30, 2014
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Finally, Some Tuition Relief For California’s Middle-Class Students
California's new Middle Class Scholarship will award tuition grants to an estimated 156,000 undergraduates, bringing relief to many mid-income families. Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
Taking aim at the giant student loan debt, the state will offer grants to families earning more than $80,000.

Guess which school is cheaper to attend for a middle-class student, Harvard or a California state school?

You’ve hit the nail on the head if you went with the Ivy League. As the San Jose Mercury News reported in 2012, even though Harvard’s annual tuition is around $36,000, its enormous endowment helps cut costs for middle-class students by more than half to $17,000. Meanwhile, due to skyrocketing tuition, middle-class students who attend Cal State East Bay pay $24,000. At UC Berkeley, tuition costs $19,500.

Although no one is playing a tiny violin for families that make $80,000 – $150,000 a year, middle class families are shouldering a heavy burden when it comes to college tuition. Their income bracket, unfortunately, disqualifies them from federal and state grants that are usually reserved for lower income students. This means middle-class students often take out giant loans — and we all know how that’s going for the country.

MORE: Ask the Experts: How Can We Keep From Drowning in College Debt?

But finally, some relief.

As the Los Angeles Times reports, California’s new Middle Class Scholarship will award tuition grants to an estimated 156,000 undergraduates. Up to $1,450 will go to University of California students, and up to $650 for California State University students.

Frank Ballmann, director of federal relations for the National Assn. of State Student Grant and Aid Programs, called the middle-class scholarship “groundbreaking” since it’ll reach so many students.

He added that other higher education institutions might just follow the state’s lead. “Even if [California] is the first, I suspect they won’t be the last,” Ballmann told the LA Times.

UCLA freshman Madison Acampora, whose family makes $96,000 annually, is likely to receive the scholarship. A little goes a long way, especially for her parents, who just paid for college for Madison’s two older sisters, too.

“I became used to not getting any money. So this makes me very happy,” she told the newspaper. “Even if it just helps cover my books and supplies.”

DON’T MISS: Ask the Experts: Why Should Americans Care About Income Inequality?

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