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Financial Aid and Chicanos/Latinos Financial aid is a classic example of a government subsidy that carries with it a set of assumptions that are not necessarily valid for lower-income Chicanos/Latinos. In particular, the assumptions of a rational and informed consumer are unwieldy for lower-income families in general, but are especially troublesome when applied to Chicanos/Latinos. Issues pertaining to language and culture pose sometimes insurmountable difficulties to these families when they are faced with a complex and unfamiliar financial aid system. The purpose of financial aid is to decrease the cost of college attendance for needy students and therefore increase accessibility to higher education. In the case of Chicanos/Latinos, there are also distinct factors on the side of the delivery system that cause financial aid to be less than efficient and therefore inhibit access.

The first section of this paper will describe the Methods used to analyze the problem, and why those particular methods were chosen. It will also include a background summary of the interview informants. The second section, a Statement of the Problem, presents a brief overview of trends in financial aid policy and research as they pertain to lower-income families. Current educational and financial issues of the Chicano/Latino population are described. Section three presents Evidence for various language issues and cultural attitudes that pertain to Chicanos/Latinos that prevent them from being rational and informed consumers, and how these issues and attitudes manifest in difficulties with the financial aid system, specifically in relation to overall knowledge ("Information Inequities"), forms ("System Complexity"), aid awards and loans. Also included in this section are examples of factors inherent in the financial aid system itself that make it less than efficient for Chicano/Latino families. The Conclusion offers a summary, as well as implications of the problem and some solutions or remedies.

For full text e-mail: laughlin@rt66.com


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