PB Undergrads Return To Class Amid Student Aid Crisis Jan 5, 2014 23:38:58 GMT -5
Post by Point Breeze on Jan 5, 2014 23:38:58 GMT -5
Thousands of Point Breeze Undergrads Return to School Amid Student Aid Crisis in Nat'l Assembly
Mario Lucci, Capital Report
Mario Lucci, Capital Report
North Shore College's Ivory Tower in January
SCHENLEY - This Monday marks the start of classes for many of Point Breeze's colleges and universities, including the state-run University of the Red Star and the state-supported (but privately owned) North Shore College. The two schools, among others, have been locked in a heated debate over who should receive the lion's share of a dwindling state budget supporting scholarships, loans, and grants to undergraduate students.
Under the Assembly's omnibus higher education act passed last fall, all state-affiliated universities - over 100 - are given access to a pool of cash they can then use to dish out scholarships and loans to students however they wish. Schools who meet certain criteria or spend more wisely are given greater shares. URS freshman Alicia Miller says the financial aid package she received was critical in her decision to attend the school. "Without that help from the school, I wouldn't be able to attend, or if I did, it would have to be part-time, off campus, and I know I just wouldn't make it."
While the students enjoyed winter holiday at home, school administrators from all state-affiliated schools submitted applications to the Regent Council on Education, requesting funds from the student support budget and outlining their justifications. Regent Councilman Tony Moreno noticed some odd reasoning in this year's applications. "We found schools asking for much higher shares of the budget simply because they were state-run or got state money. That's never been enough to justify higher payouts before, but now with so many colleges submitting applications on that basis, it's something we have to consider. Otherwise, we wouldn't be able to give out any funds!"
Some analysts blame this trend on the decreasing quality of education in Point Breeze, while others point towards the rising numbers of admissions into the nation's schools as the explanation. Either way, the budget is strained like never before, and the students are going to be the ones paying the cost.
"We all got letters saying we might not get the same amount of aid we received this semester," Miller said, "and that really hurts. I don't want to have to quit halfway through the year."
Lawmakers are scrambling to find ways to increase the size of the budget, but Moreno has proposed stronger criteria on how schools request funds from the budget. "I think these administrators have come to rely on this free money, and it's eliminated the need for innovation. If we remove their ability to just take the money, then you'll see the quality of education rise again."