As University of Kentucky competes for top students, more lower-income kids left behind

Kylie Lacey's picture

In the past seven years, the amount of undergraduate financial aid based solely on merit at University of Kentucky has risen 149 percent, compared to just 46 percent for aid based on need alone. Of the nearly $70 million UK gave in institutional aid this past school year, less than 4 percent was earmarked solely for students who need financial help to attend college.

Meanwhile, UK data shows that nearly one in four students who got financial aid in the 2011-2012 school year had no financial need under federal guidelines.

UK's shift toward merit aid — a trend mirrored around the country — has increased the divide between the haves and have-nots in higher education, many experts say, which means many talented Kentuckians can no longer afford their top college choice.

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