From the first scholarship given to Harvard in 1643 to today's world of enrollment management and federal grants and loans, the author gives a lively social and ecomic history of the conflicting purposes of student aid. His research for this book is based on archives and interviews at 131 public and private institutions across the United States. In the words of Joe Paul Case, Wilkinson has mined the archives of dozens of institutions to create a mosaic that details the progress of student assistance from the 17th century to the present. He gives particular attention to the origins of need-based assistance, from the charitable benevolence of early colleges to the regulation-laden policies of the federal government. He gives due consideration to institutional motive - he challenges the egalitarian platitudes of affluent colleges and questions the countervailing market and ecomic forces that may imperil need-based aid at less competitive institutions. By drawing on scores of personal interviews and exchanges of correspondence with aid practitioners, Wilkinson fleshes out recent decades, helping the reader to understand new trends in the provision of aid.
Rupert Wilkinson, former Professor of American Studies and History at the University of Sussex, England, has taught at Brandeis, Smith, and Wesleyan. Author or editor of eight other books on elites and on American culture, he has published articles on student aid in the College Board Review and the Journal of Student Financial Aid.