Thought for Today (2/25/2017)

I read where a college student was ranting because he lost a $2,600 scholarship at a public university.  He said he ‘earned’ his scholarship by getting good grades.  He went on to claim that he might not be able to finish his senior year without the scholarship.  In the end, he blamed the state senate and a certain political party for not funding his university with enough funds to continue his scholarship assistance. He called this ‘defunding public education.’

Although I empathize with any student having to take out loans to get through college, for the sake of that student and anyone else who does not understand, I submit the following:

  1. A scholorship = a grant = a handout. It is awarded (not earned) based upon meeting certain criteria. For it to be earned it would have to be compensation for labor or services rendered to another person or entity. Studying hard to get good grades to be accepted into an institution of higher learning is not for anyone’s benefit but the student and therefore does not meet the definition of ‘earned’.
  2. This student was complaining about losing a $2,600 scholarship.  If you are going to a college or university, in your junior year, and $2,600 is the difference between you graduating into a career field that averages $60,000 per year starting pay, an intelligent student would find a way to get those funds to invest in their future instead of expecting tax payers to continually support him/her.
  3. Cutting back on spending is not ‘defunding’. Defunding is to prevent from continuing to receive funds. In this case public education is not being defunded from the state, certain scholarships are being defunded by the university.
  4. The University of Iowa has 92% of the top 400 paid state employees In Iowa. On average, these top paid educators received over $400,000 per year each. The top paid full time professors at the University of Iowa average $420,500 per year, the top paid assistants average $415,000 per year, and the top paid associates average $398,000 per year.  Overall, full time University of Iowa professors average $166,300 per academic year, associates average $110,900, and assistants average $93,900.  Compare that to a full time professor at Harvard University averages $198,400 per year with associate professors averaging $120,900 and assistant professors earning $109,800.  If you take the cost of living into effect, a full time University of Iowa professors income is really worth $184,200 per year while a Harvard professors income is worth $184,900. So if a student wants to complain about not getting enough financial aid, this might be an area to focus their wrath on instead of blaming politicians.
  5. If you want to make up the $4.4M shortage for those extra scholarships, discontinue employee travel expense accounts and you removed $2.4 million of that shortage.  Freeze incomes (removing merit and cost of living increases) for all university faculty and the rest is easily made up instead of blaming the state politicians for being fiscally responsible.
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About The Rural Iowegian

I am the Rural Iowegian of www.ruraliowegian.wordpress.com a published author and an award winning photographer. I use this space to speak my mind. God Bless.
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5 Responses to Thought for Today (2/25/2017)

  1. Thomas Bradshaw says:

    As this is regarding me, I digress… First of all, I was not ranting. Secondly, I am using this to raise awareness about the effects of budget cuts to public education. Your tax dollars never paid my scholarship, your tax dollars covered other things; however, the budget cut created a situation wherein the university had to decide between taking funds from essentials or taking the extra money from out of state and international tuitions – mine and ~2400 other scholarships. But let me address some of your enumerations.

    In response to (1), my friend, why do you think universities offer scholarships for good grades? The same reasons they offer scholarships to good atheletes. High achieving students add to university prestige through either research paper writing or going on to innovate new technology that the university can take some amount of credit for to increase their reputation as an excellent institute to attend.

    In response to (2), I did find a way to pay for school. My shortfall was much greater than $2600 before I got to where I am now. I have worked consistently throughout college – often 2 jobs – during full time enrollment. That $2600 was part of that way to pay for school, and I did earn it (re:In response to 1). Your statement on tax payers neglects the fact that this budget deficit which prompted scholarship cuts originated in 2013. It was decided in a 2013 bill that the tax payers would pay for 10% reductions in corporate property taxes. While agriculture and residential sectors received 1% reductions in property tax, corporations by and large have the highest property values. The impression I’ve gotten since my case received widespread notoriety is that many tax payers would have preferred to fund public education rather than big business.

    In response to (3), “funding” refers to providing money for a particular purpose. “De” is the latin root word for indicating privation, removal, or separation. See SF130 at https://www.legis.iowa.gov/legislation/BillBook?ga=87&ba=Sf130

    Additionally, I have no issues with Republicans, however, I take issue with Iowa Republican Leaders who are ultimately the cause of this. I was on track to finish school and graduate with honors with a Chemical Engineering B.S. prior to this. If scholarships are grants and not earned, why wouldn’t everyone get them?

  2. 1. If tax dollars go to cover other things, not scholarships, without the tax dollars covering those other things, would your scholarship have been available in the first place? The answer to that would be “no”.
    2. The tax cut you refer to in 2013 was approved by the Democratic controlled State Senate 43-6 and the Republican controlled House 84-13. Without the Democrats approving it in the Senate, it never would have got to the house and then to the Governor. If you want to blame, blame all. The Republican leadership did not force the Democrats to vote for it. Michael Gronstal (D) said at the time the bill was passed ’”I’m proud to say that this year we finally put that argument aside and said ‘Let’s agree on a tax cut that is big and bold and good for every employer in the state of Iowa.”
    3. As far as studying hard to get good grades, that was your responsibility as a child to your parents. The U of I did not tell you as long as you get good grades we will pay you via a scholarship. Your parents may have instilled in you that unless you got good grades you would not get into a good institution of higher learning. Comparing academic scholarships to athletic scholarships is a logical fallacy. Athletic programs that that are successful bring in huge sums of money to the institution in media rights to broadcast games. Those athletes are a source of income for the university. Last year the football team netted a $25,872,482 profit for the university. How much was the net profit for the academic students’ activities?
    4. Once again, it was not the state that defunded the particular scholarship that you received, it was the university. The university had many choices it could have made, your scholarship program was a choice made by the powers that be there, not in Des Moines. Also, I reiterate that had the university chosen to throttle back faculty compensations, you would have never received a letter in the first place, but they chose to protect their own at the expense of the student.
    5. Finally, I have worked for over 50 years and earned two bachelor’s degrees in three years and I empathize with your situation. I was working full time by the time I was 13 to help put food on the table while attending high school. We didn’t get any assistance and it was difficult. It was just the life we were dealt and we adapted to our situation, adjusted our lives as needed, and overcame the obstacles thrown in our way. It wasn’t the fault of the Democrats and it wasn’t the fault of the Republicans (no preference here, just put them in alphabetical order). The U of I is top heavy on their faculty payroll and until people speak up about that, it won’t get better.

    I wish you success.

    • Thomas Bradshaw says:

      1) Admittedly, we are splitting hairs. The point is that the tax breaks provided in 2013 allocated tax dollars to corporations rather than Iowa residents. As I stated, I bet you’d be hard-pressed to find people unaffiliated with big business that would rather pay them than help fund public education.

      2) I understand both parties play a role in this, but the midyear budget signed at the end of January was pushed and signed by Iowan Republican leaders. I, however, am not intending my statement to be some sort of partisan play. You’re right, Democrats and Republicans are both responsible for this.

      3) While it is offensive you insinuate I was coddled growing up and act entitled, you’re actually incorrect. Your citation of the revenue produced by athletics is irrelevant because any revenue by athletics is reinvested into athletics. I was comparing the idea that athletics bring name recognition in the same way as academic prestige. Furthermore, you’re insinuating that the educational system was intentionally oligarchic. You’re selling the idea that the “American Dream” was a complete lie based on no historic evidence. By that I mean, you are saying that our society has in no way implicitly or explicitly stated that, as long as you work hard anyone has the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”.
      You’re also selling the idea that the statement in the Declaration of Independence was intended to exist only as text and never as policy to help the people,

      “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

      Not only are you saying these were intended as words alone, you’re also stating that my public statements regarding government accountability to corporations and not the people, are actually inappropriate – that I need to shut up and quit whining. I am simply exposing the government as “destructive of these ends” in order to spawn change. Your quelling of my statements is actually inappropriate.

      4) Budget cuts issued by the State actually required the University of Iowa to make adjustments to their budget. Admittedly, I personally believe the University is using students as pawns in order to do exactly as I’ve done. Public education funding has continually been decreased by – again facts, not partisan – Republicans. The University can’t impact elections through voting so it chose to cut scholarships in order to make the people who are able to express outrage and vote for change to do just that.

      5) I applaud you on your accomplishments. You should know that thus far I have endured hardships similar to this and persisted so this is far from a whiny statement about me. This is about the principle behind the matter. I will do what it takes to finish my degree, I assure you of that. I am simply bringing this forward publicly because the amount of effort, time, tears, sweat, and stress required for me to obtain an education is something that I would never ask of others. Education is being vehemently discouraged by extensively increasing the difficulty of obtaining funding. Wealth and intelligence are in no way correlated. Wealth and opportunity, perhaps, but we squander the potential of our people by taking the opportunity from the underprivileged.

      • First of all Thomas, I never insinuated that you were coddled. My statement was that all children have the responsibility to do their best in school and a lot of parents instill in their children that unless they do well in school, they won’t get into a good institution of higher learning.

        Institutions like the U of I do their best to misspend public funds. With the ‘merit’ system that says the longer you avoid termination the more money you will make is wrong . Just like professors who are granted tenure. What other institution is there that has a program where as long as you perform adequately for X many years, you are protected for the rest of your life? Until the education system is overhauled and academics are paid uninflated wages, the situation will not change.

        I have not tried to stymie your vocalization, I am just trying to get you think outside the proverbial box and not look just at the surface of an issue, but delve into it and dig to the root of the problem to resolve the issue.

        I suggest that part, not all, of the issue are the unions that have represented state employees and wrung every cent they can out of the state funds. A professor who makes $400K+ at the taxpayers expense is wrong! I couldn’t care less how well versed he/she is in a subject.

        Then on the subject of the Constitution, I have never even hinted that I disagree with life, liberty, and the PURSUIT of happiness. The key word is ‘pursuit’. It does not say the guarantee of happiness. Sometimes our lot in life, or fate if you prefer, is to struggle for success and never reach our goals; then you see others who seem to come out of each situation with money falling out of their ass. As far as abolishing the government and starting anew with a government that seems likely to effect their safety and happiness, sounds great in theory but what one needs to realize early on that happiness cannot be found through an outside source, but is only found within oneself. One person’s safety may very well infringe on another person’s liberty. I am very well versed in the Constitution as I served to protect them both here and abroad from 1975 to 2008.

        You would never ask someone else to go through hardship to attain success? If there is no hardship, success is meaningless. If I were an employer who had to choose between two candidates, one who went to school on their parent’s money or a full ride, and the other who busted their butt to get through school, I would choose the latter. This person has shown that they can set goals, and work through adversity to achieve them.

        Not everyone is meant to be a college graduate. In 2013, the U of I graduation rate was 51% and that was the highest they had seen in a long time. What part of that 49% do you think dropped out because of finances. I am not talking about using finances as an excuse, but actually could not fiscally make it work even though they had a sound financial plan in effect? Then, since the U of I was one of the top party schools for several years now, what percentage of students dropped out or were failed out because they didn’t apply themselves? Should money be more available to these people too to squander and more than likely never pay back?

        I know you are a busy young man and don’t have a lot of time to debate with an old fart, so I’ll stop there for now but if you want to discuss it more at a later date, don’t hesitate to get ahold of me here.

  3. Thomas Bradshaw says:

    Absolutely. I want to make one correction though on your interpretation of what I’ve said. I shouldn’t spend any time researching any other topics within your response statement, but I have no issue coming back to them when I have time to have another debate.

    I never said that I think people shouldn’t go through hardship to attain success. However, I think there is a limit to hardship before it becomes cruel and unusual punishment. Since coming to the University of Iowa, as I’ve stated, I’ve worked multiple jobs while attending a very time demanding study. I did this to make ends meet to cover living expenses. This sounds much less dramatic than it does when it translates to life. As a result, a few things have happened which I would never wish upon anyone else.

    1) After coming to Iowa in 2014, I have gone from weighing ~190lb to now weighing ~160lb. The reason for this is simple: I can’t afford to eat three meals a day. I pay health insurance, rent, I used to have a phone plan, internet (a necessity in college), along with other things that come with the randomness of life. My income is insufficient, it’s simple.
    2) My health has declined significantly and there’s often not enough time to deal with things I need to. Due to pretty poor dental hygiene as a child – something common in poor families – I have had cavities in my teeth since I’ve been to UIowa. I don’t have time to go get them filled and even if I could I can’t afford to miss work or pay my copay. I’ve had one tooth pulled and a few fillings fall out that I’ve yet to get fixed because of this. During the summer I can’t because I’ve run out of money from loans/scholarships after the semester. My health insurance plan is seasonal because I can’t afford it during the summer and my health goes on hold.
    3) I’ve had kidney problems more frequently. I have had one kidney stone before moving to Iowa City. Since then I’ve passed 3. I’ve had to endure the excruciating pain of a kidney stone before because I either couldn’t afford the copay at the emergency room or because I couldn’t afford to skip work.

    I don’t say this for pity points either. I say this because I think it’s important to know the sacrifices necessary and the pain endured simply to go to school. If my family were wealthy, I’d have none of these issues. Additionally, if public education funding continues to be reduced, I would’ve never even been able to get this far. In my opinion, there’s a point where asking people to just have some grit becomes an unreasonable request.

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