2 April, 2008

Frag you, too!

Posted in college tagged , , , , at 10:34 pm by breathingbullets

So…Florida’s governor, Charlie Crist, posted a bid to reduce a grant called FRAG–the Florida Residence Access Grant. And I’m really sorry, but that’s really dumb. So….the letter I’m sending to my senators and house rep’s:

The proposal to reduce the Florida Resident Access Grant is one of the most dangerous bids that could pass through the state legislature. I’m not certain whether or not it is a response to the property tax cut that passed earlier this year, but unless Florida’s private institutions plan on reducing their tuition (and I highly doubt they do), it negatively impacts the lives of my generation.

It is relatively easy to say that three thousand dollars is not a major contribution to one’s tuition, but when the tuition is thirty thousand dollars, it can make or break a student’s ability to attend a private institution. According to the United States Census Bureau, the average Floridian household earns $37,998 (Advameg Inc.). That is approximately twelve thousand dollars less than the cost of attendance at Rollins University, although it doubles the tuition of smaller universities like Flagler.

Granted, students could relieve the financial stress with loans. However, that only postpones the issue. An extra three thousand dollars a year for four-year students is twelve thousand dollars that may not be readily available. A Bachelor’s Degree is not worth what it used to be. Many people leave college without jobs that pay too much more than minimum wage, and in today’s reality, it is an insufficient living wage.

The other option is to turn to a public institution. Twenty-seven percent of Eckerd’s freshmen are Florida residents which is approximately 145 students. If approximately half of them have the means to pay on their own merit, that leaves around seventy people turning to a public institution like Florida State University. Assuming they qualify under Eckerd’s standards, the vast majority should be Bright Future’s eligible. And there’s the same three thousand dollars, if not more, being used to cover a student’s tuition. The downside, though, is the excessive strain on the public schools, leading to larger class sizes and, eventually, a higher rate of rejection.

Personally, I attended a private school throughout the entirety of my formative years, and most of my funding came directly from scholarships. Without them—without that school and environment—I know I would be an entirely different person today. I currently attend the University of Tampa, but I am leaving, so holistically, the issue doesn’t effect me. I simply know and understand the impact of the money received. Without the Florida Residence Access Grant earlier this semester, I’m certain I would not be here now, and I’d hate to know that people who could have benefited from a school as brilliant as this one, will have to look elsewhere to satisfy their needs and secure their futures because of something as stupid and meaningless as money. I happen to know that the school does plan on increasing its tuition by 5%. To the school board, it may not seem like a lot—just as three thousand dollars may not seem to make a difference—but to us, we may as well have been rejected.

I hope it all goes well I’m not yet certain about that one person can make a difference thing.

-*- C.K.

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