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Please begin with an informative title:

to poor get shafted.

It seems college finanacial aid is being directed to the well off through "merit" awards instead of need based awards - Colleges Soak Poor U.S. Students While Funneling Aid to Rich
(from Bloomberg)

Some excerpts:

“This data shows there’s been a dramatic shift. The pursuit of prestige and revenue has led them to focus more on high-income students.”
...
To increase their standing on college rankings, more private colleges are giving “merit aid” to top students, who are often affluent, while charging unaffordable prices to the needy, according to the report. The percentage of students receiving merit aid jumped to 44 percent in 2007-2008 from 24 percent in 1995-1996, the report found. To a lesser extent, public universities are using some of the same practices, Burd said.
There is probably a place for merit based awards - it's good to get the best students into the best schools.  But need based awards broaden the availability of college in ways that merit awards don't - and there is no reason that even merit awards cannot have a needs test as well.  
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