Financial aid awards need to more selective, with emphasis placed on the STEM disciplines.
If a college-bound student wants to major in transgendered Aleutian folk music, OK—But taxpayers should not have to underwrite a worthless degree with no market demand.
There’s a model for what you advocate...it’s called the ROTC scholarship program. The armed forces discovered a long time ago that it’s almost pointless to fund cadets majoring in art history or women’s studies. Consequently, scholarship applicants in those disciplines stand virtually no chance of getting the military to fund their college education. On the other hand, if you want to major in engineering, physics, computer science or math (and your grades/test scores are good enough), there’s a much better chance of winning a scholarship.
Here’s how the model would work for the college population as a whole: interest rates for student loans and eligibility for Pell Grants would be linked to the demand for those degrees. Students majoring in difficult, in-demand disciplines would receive loans at no interest and have first crack at grant money. At the other end, students pursuing low-demand degrees would have loan interest rates in the double digits and virtually no shot at grant money. Individuals would still be free to pursue worthless degrees—but they’d do it on their own dime, or through private scholarships.