Scholarship Donors Cry Foul Over Colleges’ Required Fees

Philanthropies that support scholarships for low-income and minority college students are calling on well-endowed universities to drop mandatory student fees and other practices the donors say undercut their aid, according to Bloomberg.

Schools such as Boston College and Amherst, which have endowments exceeding $1.6-billion, charge mandatory “summer contributions” to all students and bar the use of outside scholarship funds to pay them. Donors say this forces needy students to work or take out loans to cover the fees.

Some colleges also rescind financial aid to students who receive external money, according an impending report by the National Scholarship Providers Association, an umbrella group whose members include the Gates, Dell, Walmart, and Coca-Cola foundations.

University officials say requiring all students to pay the fees ensures a level playing field. Letting scholarship recipients use outside funds for them “would be unfair to all the other ones who didn’t win the Gates [scholarship],” said Bernie Pekala, director of student financial strategies at Boston College.

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