Tuition costs eroding middle-class
9/5/2012, 7:54 a.m.
Tuition costs eroding middle-class
The expense of a college education has grown too large for most families to afford. When their parents cannot pay the bills students have to rely on scholarships, grants and loans. In order to qualify for financial assistance, students have to endure an intrusive and somewhat debasing examination of their family finances.
This process is undoubtedly unavoidable in order to assure the eligibility of students for financial assistance. Unfortunately, it establishes on campus an indigent class of students. The fact is that since the price of tuition, room and board and other fees do not cover the actual cost of education, all students are beneficiaries of the institution’s largesse and do not pay the full freight. Every student has a discount.
Most highly regarded American universities depend on revenue from their endowment investments and income from federal grants to enrich their educational environment. The development offices of universities aggressively reach out to alumni for donations. Supporting revenue from these sources is so great in some colleges that the cost of tuition pays for as little as only half of the academic budget.
Mitt Romney’s dismissive attitude toward the financial burden of college education is a cause for concern. He suggested that financially strapped students should borrow money from their parents or go to a less expensive college. Republicans also opposed maintaining a lower interest rate for college loans until their reticence became politically damaging.
Conservative Republicans want to shut down the U.S. Department of Education and return education loans to the private sector. Without federal assistance only universities with substantial endowments will be able to provide financial aid. Colleges will be forced to admit mostly students from affluent families that can afford to pay the bill.
Promising job opportunities are available primarily to those with college degrees. With the Republicans in power, the nation will be on an even more aggressive path of income and wealth disparity as only the well-to-do will be able to afford a college education.
American society has become increasingly more complex. Nothing illustrates this more than the diversity of opinion in the online comments on Howard Manly’s account in the Banner of Aug. 23 entitled, “Groover: ‘Mistakes were made’ in church finances.” The article was based on the testimony of Rev. Gregory Groover in the Charles Street AME Church’s bankruptcy hearing.
The Banner congratulates all those who took the time to submit comments. Your opinions may be helpful to others as the community comes to understand the issues. Clearly no single article can contain every aspect of the conflict between the church and OneUnited Bank.
Nonetheless, there are some misunderstandings that should be clarified to provide for more useful debate. First of all, Manly’s story was based on the recorded testimony of Rev. Groover. It was not just Manly’s opinion. Any criticism has to be based upon the accuracy of that account. There was no opportunity for intervention by the publisher or anyone else.
Consequently, there is no substance to the assertion that the Banner publisher has a conflict of interest because he is also a director of OneUnited Bank. Furthermore, the usual standard for such a charge is that the accused has a personal interest, usually financial, in the outcome of the case. There is no evidence of that. The publisher is motivated only by an awareness of the importance of a large, sound bank to serve minorities.
There is little question that Groover mismanaged the construction project. Why should others be forced to suffer the loss when AME authorities with more than an estimated $33 million on hand have both the capability and the legal requirement to repay the loan?